Tuesday, September 02, 2003

A New Look at Autism...
A researcher takes a new approach and defines humans on a scale from E (Empathy) to S (Systemization) and suggests that children with autism skew heavily towards the "S" end of the spectrum; that they aren't disabled or don't have a disease, just a strong leaning towards an ordered, systematic world and find it harder to practice empathetic behavior. While he admits his theory isn't a complete explanation for autism (generally believed to be a result of extraordinary brain growth at a very young age), it does a lot to explain how to approach autism and offers proof that some children can be helped with the "E" deficiency through social interaction training. But it also casts autism in a more favorable light, recogizing that it's not a failing of the social skills, but a gift in the logical, systematic skills that should not be downplayed or considered a disease. This makes a lot of sense to me. I'm not a super-intelligent person, but I was placed in gifted classes in school and always felt more comfortable around systems and logic and social interaction has been difficult. This E-S scale seems to really explain how that might work. (newsweek.msnbc.com)
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