Autistic Brains Organised Differently (article & video)

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whirlingmind
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06 Apr 2013, 5:52 am

...not that we didn't already know this, but here is an article and a video about it:

http://open.live.bbc.co.uk/atk/start?at ... h-12937009

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12969025


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Highlander852456
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06 Apr 2013, 6:18 am

Pretty much consistent with my experience. At least with drawing. One time I started drawing and did not know what and suddenly it ended up looking like a giraffe. My mother did not believe it. She said where you get that picture from. Then she asked where I draw it from. It took some time to explain that it was from memory alone. Well... I did not draw many giraffes after lol.



Kuzlalala
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06 Apr 2013, 7:03 am

I'm so bad at deciding things, especially when I finally made a decision, the person asks "are you sure?". I'm not sure whether I'm good at planning or not. Also I'm good at visual tasks. In fact, it's easier if I memorize things through pictures than words.



Adamantium
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06 Apr 2013, 7:06 am

The interesting thing in this story and a lot of other neuroscience coming out now (like the dream scans and 'mind's eye" scans) are mostly the product of people learning how to use functional MRI.

People suspected something like this, but now they KNOW. It's a very good thing to move from ignorance to knowledge.

It's always possible to see a potential dark side in the potential power that new understanding and technology can bring (I'm thinking of the dark imagination at work in the thread about the BRAIN initiative) but there will be a brilliant side as well. I was glad to hear the mention in the video of using this new knowledge to refine educational techniques.



cubedemon6073
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06 Apr 2013, 7:22 am

Quote:
Researchers at the University of Montreal, in Canada, say autistic people have highly developed visual areas in their brains, but are less well equipped for decision-making or reasoning.


What does it mean that we're less equipped for reasoning?

If this is so why are careers like IT recommended to us which require reasoning abilities?

I don't follow their line of thinking.



InThisTogether
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06 Apr 2013, 11:26 am

cubedemon6073 wrote:
Quote:
Researchers at the University of Montreal, in Canada, say autistic people have highly developed visual areas in their brains, but are less well equipped for decision-making or reasoning.


What does it mean that we're less equipped for reasoning?

If this is so why are careers like IT recommended to us which require reasoning abilities?

I don't follow their line of thinking.


Me neither. I have met numerous people on the spectrum who's ability to reason is far superior to most people's, NT or otherwise.

I am also not sure that all autistic people have highly developed visual areas in their brains.

I hate when people in general--and researchers in specific--refer to autistics as if they are one big homogenous group. I think it is dangerous.

All that being said, my daughter has a ridiculous eye for detail in her drawing. She always has drawn in great detail, even at the age of 2. She clearly has a skill that I do not. I can draw quite well, but the object needs to be in front of me. I can't just pull it from my mind. She can not only pull things from her mind, she appears to be able to manipulate them as well. I find it fascinating and I am a bit jealous if I am being completely honest. I'd love to be able to do what she does. I find it remarkable.


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06 Apr 2013, 1:32 pm

I like this article a lot and am pleased to see more knowledge emerging, particularly in terms of positive discoveries about autism. I definitely have inflated visual abilities and de-flated decision-making, organisation and theory-of-mind skills, and most autistic people definitely fit this mold. It's obviously not going to precisely fit everyone, but I think it's a step forward.

I think they may be talking about a different kind of reasoning than the posters above me are thinking of - I think they are talking more about social reasoning and the ability to predict outcomes, which are things it is well-known that autistic people struggle with. On the other hand, while logic-based reasoning is known as often being a strength for autistic people, this is a very different kind of skill which is probably managed by a completely different area of the brain.



kabouter
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06 Apr 2013, 4:41 pm

I am very disappointed with the article, I don't think it tells us anything new, and misleads people by suggesting that all autistics are visual thinkers.

Temple Grandin the most famous example of an autistic with visual thinking, who also participates in research into autism, in her talks lists four type types of thinking which autistics excel at. Visual thinking is just one of them.

It would seem to me that the people involved in the research have a very narrow focus (medical imaging), and have very little knowledge of the current thinking and research of people at other institutions and in allied areas.

I am really quite suprised.
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Mirror21
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06 Apr 2013, 4:46 pm

Meh they are never going to really "get us" as that colloquialism says.



Verdandi
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06 Apr 2013, 5:21 pm

kabouter wrote:
Temple Grandin the most famous example of an autistic with visual thinking, who also participates in research into autism, in her talks lists four type types of thinking which autistics excel at. Visual thinking is just one of them.


There are more than four thinking types.



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07 Apr 2013, 4:48 am

kabouter wrote:
I am very disappointed with the article, I don't think it tells us anything new, and misleads people by suggesting that all autistics are visual thinkers.


I think you misinterpreted the article. It says that in autistic people "the area at the back of the brain, which processes visual information, is more highly developed." It doesn't say anything about visual thinking - it is talking about sensory sensitivity, not thinking style.

Even autistic people who don't think visually usually have enhanced sensitivity to visual stimulus - for example, sensitivity to light, fascination with the appearance of objects or parts of objects, close attention to visual detail, and tendency for the eye to pick out interruptions in patterns (in my case, I'm sensitive to visual "noise" as well, though this seems to be less common). Although they use an example of an artist in the video (which personally really pleases me because there's still a myth that autistic people aren't creative or artistic which is completely false), this applies just as much to autistic people who are more science or maths oriented or who have different thinking styles, and I agree with them that enhanced sensitivity to visual stimulus probably applies across almost all of the autistic spectrum.

In terms of professionals having better understanding of our sensory experience, it's great that they have been able to show this conclusively.



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07 Apr 2013, 5:57 am

LFA perhaps low in functioning in society but it doesn't equate to low intelligence.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNZVV4Ciccg[/youtube]



whirlingmind
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07 Apr 2013, 6:22 am

Stalk wrote:
LFA perhaps low in functioning in society but it doesn't equate to low intelligence.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNZVV4Ciccg[/youtube]


What a moving video. Two bits in it really were heartbreaking...when she said "it's like a fire in me that needs putting out" and when her dad admitted, that "for years we were talking in front of her as if she weren't there".

I don't know if he meant talking about Carly, or just talking amongst themselves and ignoring her (the former would be worse) but that made me sad.


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InThisTogether
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07 Apr 2013, 8:56 am

whirlingmind wrote:

I don't know if he meant talking about Carly, or just talking amongst themselves and ignoring her (the former would be worse) but that made me sad.


Sadly, I imagine it was the former. In all the years that my daughter had interventions, the vast majority of the therapists seemed to have no qualms talking about her like she wasn't there. Luckily, one of her first therapists told me to never talk about her like she wasn't there, and to not let others do it. Either go to another room, or include her in the conversation, even though she wasn't speaking at the time. When I mentioned it to new therapists, I always had the impression that they had never even considered it before. It was as if a light turned on: most of them were very cooperative with my request. I hope it transferred over into their work with other kids.

It is very easy to assume that someone who doesn't speak is not tracking the conversation. Perhaps that is true in some cases, but I wish more people would be sensitive to the possibility that the person knows exactly what you are saying, and sadly enough, are not even in a position to correct you if need be.


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Fnord
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07 Apr 2013, 10:17 am

The exact cause of Asperger Syndrome is currently unknown. Although research may suggest the likelihood of a genetic basis,[1] there is no definitive genetic etiology[2][3] and brain imaging techniques have not identified an obviously common pathology.[1]

It's a healthy practice to be skeptical of any "research" that is first reported through the media, and not through peer-review journals.

References

[1] McPartland J, Klin A (2006). "Asperger's syndrome". Adolesc Med Clin 17 (3): 771–88. doi:10.1016/j.admecli.2006.06.010. PMID 17030291.

[2] Matson JL, Minshawi NF (2006). "Etiology and prevalence". Early intervention for autism spectrum disorders: a critical analysis. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science. p. 33. ISBN 0-08-044675-2.

[3] Klauck SM (2006). "Genetics of autism spectrum disorder" (PDF). Eur J of Hum Genet 14 (6): 714–720. doi:10.1038/sj.ejhg.5201610