What Genius and Autism Have in Common

A study of eight child prodigies finds that share some striking characteristics, most notably high levels of autistic traits and an overrepresentation of autism in their close family members

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Child prodigies evoke awe, wonder and sometimes jealousy: how can such young children display the kinds of musical or mathematical talents that most adults will never master, even with years of dedicated practice? Lucky for these despairing types, the prevailing wisdom suggests that such comparisons are unfair — prodigies are born, not made (mostly). Practice alone isn’t going to turn out the next 6-year-old Mozart.

So finds a recent study of eight young prodigies, which sought to shed some light on the roots of their talent. The prodigies included in the study [PDF] are all famous (but remain unidentified in the paper), having achieved acclaim and professional status in their fields by the ripe age of 10. Most are musical prodigies; one is an artist and another a math whiz, who developed a new discipline in mathematics and, by age 13, had had a paper accepted for publication in a mathematics journal. Two of the youngsters showed extraordinary skill in two separate fields: one child in music and art (his work now hangs in prestigious galleries the world over), and the other in music and molecular gastronomy (the science behind food preparation — why mayonnaise becomes firm or why a soufflé swells, for example). He became interested in food at age 10 and, by 11, had carried out his first catering event.

All of the prodigies had stories of remarkable early abilities: one infant began speaking at 3 months old and was reading by age 1; two others were reading at age 2. The gastronomist was programming computers at 3. Several children could reproduce complex pieces of music after hearing them just once, at the age most kids are finishing preschool. Many had toured internationally or played Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hall well before age 10.

Six of the prodigies were still children at the time of the study, which is slated for publication in the journal Intelligence. The other two participants were grown, aged 19 and 32.

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The study found a few key characteristics these youngsters had in common. For one, they all had exceptional working memories — the system that holds information active in the mind, keeping it available for further processing. The capacity of working memory is limited: for numbers, for example, most people can hold seven digits at a time on average; hence, the seven-digit phone number. But prodigies can hold much more, and not only can they remember extraordinarily large numbers, they can also manipulate them and carry out calculations that you or I might have trouble managing with pencil and paper.

Working memory isn’t just the ability to remember long strings of numbers. It is the ability to hold and process quantities of information, both verbal and non-verbal — such as, say, memorizing a musical score and rewriting it in your head. All the children in the study scored off the charts when tested on measures of working memory: they placed in at least the 99th percentile, with most in the 99.9th percentile.

Surprisingly, however, the study found that not all of the prodigies had high IQs. Indeed, while they had higher-than-average intelligence, some didn’t have IQs that were as elevated as their performance and early achievements would suggest. One child had an IQ of just 108, at the high end of normal.

There was something else striking too. The authors found that prodigies scored high in autistic traits, most notably in their ferocious attention to detail. They scored even higher on this trait than did people diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism that typically includes obsession with details.

Three of the eight prodigies had a diagnosed autism spectrum disorder themselves. The child who had spoken his first words at 3 months, stopped speaking altogether at 18 months, then started again when he was just over two-and-a-half years old; he was diagnosed with autism at 3. What’s more, four of the eight families included in the study reported autism diagnoses in first- or second-degree relatives, and three of these families reported a total of 11 close relatives with autism. In the general population, by contrast, about 1 in 88 people have either autism or Asperger’s.

Other unusual parallels between prodigies and those with autism: they’re both more likely to be male (though that finding may be due in part to the failure to recognize either girls on the autism spectrum or, perhaps, girls’ hidden talents) and both are associated with difficult pregnancies, suggesting that uterine environment may play a role in their development. In the math whiz’s case, for example, his mother “started labor nine times between the 29th and 37th weeks of her pregnancy and required medication to stop the labor. During the 35th week of her pregnancy, her water broke and she had a 105-degree fever from an infection in her uterus. The child prodigy did not have a soft spot at delivery,” the authors write.

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When Asperger’s was first described in 1944 by Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger, he referred to children with the syndrome as “little professors” because of their prodigious vocabularies and precocious expertise, and because they tended to lecture others endlessly without being aware of their own tediousness. Poor social skills and obsessive interests characterize the condition.

Yet, despite the obvious similarities, very little research has been done on the connection between autism and extreme talent. One previous study, published in 2007, did find that close relatives of prodigies — like close relatives of people with autism — tended to score higher on autistic traits, particularly in problems with social skills, difficulty switching attention and intense attention to detail. Other than that, however, the issue hasn’t been studied systematically, beyond the observation that autism is often seen in savants, or people with exceptional abilities who have other simultaneous impairments.

Prodigies, in contrast, appear to benefit from certain autistic tendencies while avoiding the shortfalls of others. On a standard assessment of traits associated with autism, the prodigies in the current study scored higher than a control group on all measures, including attention to detail and problems with social skills or communication (though this result was not statistically significant, probably because the sample was so small). But they also scored significantly lower than a separate comparison group of people who had Asperger’s — except on the attention-to-detail measure, in which they outshone everyone.

“One possible explanation for the child prodigies’ lack of deficits is that, while the child prodigies may have a form of autism, a biological modifier suppresses many of the typical signs of autism, but leaves attention to detail — a quality that actually enhances their prodigiousness — undiminished or even enhanced,” the authors write.

In other words, these children may have some genetic trait or learned skill that allows them to maintain intense focus, without compromising their social skills or suffering from other disabilities that typically accompany autism spectrum disorders. Comparing these children with those who have full-blown autism or Asperger’s could therefore potentially help pinpoint what goes wrong in those who develop disabling forms of autism and what goes right in others with similar traits who simply benefit from enhanced abilities.

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The current study doesn’t tread that ground, but its findings do fit in with the intense world theory of autism, which posits how the disorder may arise. The theory holds that certain patterns of brain circuitry cause autistic symptoms, including excessive connectivity in local brain regions, which can heighten attention and perception, and diminished wiring between distant regions, which can lead to a sort of system overload. In both animal and human studies, this type of brain wiring has been associated with enhanced memory and also with amplified fear and sensory overstimulation. The former is usually a good thing; the latter may cause disability.

The intense world theory propounds that all autism carries the potential for exceptional talent and social deficits. The social problems, the theory suggests, may ensue from the autistic person’s dysfunctional attempts — social withdrawal and repetitive behaviors, for instance — to deal with his heightened senses and memory.

It’s possible, then, that the wiring in prodigies’ brains resembles that of an autistic person’s, with tight local connections, except without the reduction in long-distance links. Or, their brains may function just like those with autism, but their high intelligence allows them to develop socially acceptable ways of coping with the sensory overload.

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Although some researchers — and much of the public, influenced by popular books like journalist Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers — argue that prodigious expertise can be acquired with sheer effort, 10,000 hours of practice to be exact, the current findings suggest that natural talents can blossom in far less time. “[Many prodigies] displayed their extreme talent before reaching 10 years of age, undercutting the nurture-based theories that credit contemporary training techniques and upwards of 10 years of deliberate practice as the root of all exceptional achievement,” the authors write.

That doesn’t mean all is lost for everyone else, notes Scott Barry Kaufman, a cognitive psychologist at New York University. “There is research showing the positive benefits of working memory training,” he wrote on his blog on Psychology Today‘s website, suggesting that practice could take us closer to perfect.

The current study is a small one, and much more research needs to be done to elucidate the connections between highly gifted children and those with autism spectrum conditions. But the findings strongly suggest that such connections exist. They also caution against characterizing the genetic roots of conditions like autism — or other potentially disabling problems like mood disorders, which have been linked with exceptional creativity — as wholly negative. If the same “risk” genes may lead to both debilitating autism and great intellectual gifts, we need to understand them far better before we label them as unwanted.

MORE: Autism’s Lone Wolf: Simon Baron Cohen

Maia Szalavitz is a health writer at TIME.com. Find her on Twitter at @maiasz. You can also continue the discussion on TIME Healthland’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIMEHealthland.

63 comments
mkipp22
mkipp22

What many people seam to struggle to understand is that there are mild forms of autism. Ive been living almost 20 years and just recently discovered that i may very well have the disorder. It would explain a lot about myself though. I have always had a very particular memory. I can remember small details from past events in my life which others would simply disregard. I also have noticed that I have an amazing ability to calculate mathematical equations in my head that most people couldnt even begin to solve. square roots to the hundreth decimal ect. I believe that the condition runs in my family. and has just went undetected because we suffer from high functioning autism. My brother on the other hand graduated with a degree in engineering and has always been fascinated with discovering how things work. Socially we both have struggled. but with age has come some relief. Its one of the most crappy. yet amazing phenomenons

astronomykar
astronomykar

I'm trying to research what triggers autism /prodigy while still in the womb. I know there's a lot to be studied, but I believe something must happen to the developing unborn to have such capabilities. If anyone knows of a serious research on this, please let me know

MLLSDenin
MLLSDenin

A larger working memory can also mean dealing with and organizing that information in the same time that more information is coming in to sort and/or discard... then possible reverberations between the two, echoes, interruptions, comparisons... I had problems with 'echoing' audio and visual memories and learning language as a child, but use it to great effect now in my work remembering large amounts of technical information, inventory and map locations.  I still feel the effects some days as I listen and speak, especially in office or community situations.  At times, an array of similar moments from hours or years before begin to intrude and 'playback' similar characteristics in parallel fashion while I am attending to the next task.  It can help solve the current problem at hand or sometimes just 'get in the way' and make me pause, regroup and begin again to sort relevant from irrelevant.   I can see how those who cannot form a 'sorting method' between background and foreground on intense memories or sensory information might be 'lost' somewhere in between, or never develop other skills necessary to social skills and learning.

1scottholder
1scottholder

I'm 16, have Autism, and this study sounds like a whole bunch of B.S. Eight people? That's it? How about studying 8,000 people and then you can get back to me.

rameshraghuvanshi
rameshraghuvanshi

In Autism there may be some chemical changes occurred in their brain by some accident or psychological trauma , or say some injury occurred to brain in pregnancy period or in childhood .Really speaking we are know very little functioning of brain  so it is impossible to predicate why they developed extraordinary  talent 

mattiased
mattiased

It seems like autism may be over-diagnosed.   Someone in the forum has mentioned this may be due to the influence of the pharmaceutical industry.  I think this is probably true.  The fact that prodigies would be equated with autistic people simply because prodigies "appear to benefit from certain autistic tendencies while avoiding the shortfalls of others" tells me that we may be too quick to label somebody as "autistic."

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Diana Maras
Diana Maras

Wow, read the comments and had to laugh at all the critics of ABAteacher. They went from quiet argument to trying to prove they were the bigger jerk. Good job, everyone, bravo.

retinall
retinall

The caption picture is wrong. The whiteboard should read

"d = sqrt((x2-x1)^2..."

NOT

"d= sqrt((x2-x1^2)..."

Obviously one doesn't need to be even vaguely familiar with basic algebra to be a TIME editor. 

Talendria
Talendria

I went to a Mensa convention many years ago in a misguided attempt to meet men and was astonished at the lack of social interaction.  The most popular hangout was the jigsaw puzzle room which was devoid of conversation, and the event was sponsored by pharmaceutical companies that advertised psychoactive drugs.  It occurred to me that there was a positive correlation between intelligence and weirdness (or as Oscar Levant said, "...a fine line between genius and insanity") so I decided to find a husband elsewhere.

I ended up marrying a man who can pass for normal despite his 182 IQ, and we had a son who's been alternately accused of both autism and retardation, which is ironic in light of his extreme empathy and thoughtfulness.  In comparing my son's childhood to my own, I realized the world has become less tolerant of originality and eccentricity.  There seems to be a strong urge to label (and medicate) any perceived abnormality.  I spent several years teaching my son how to act normal, in effect developing his Clark Kent persona.  He's still extraordinary, but he fits in with the other kids by wearing snarky t-shirts and making dopey remarks like, "Peace out, homies!"

I think high-functioning autism is grossly overdiagnosed these days and represents a form of nerd-bashing.  Extreme intelligence is inherently isolating because it can be difficult and tedious to communicate with your peers.  Social awkwardness can therefore develop.  I was a child prodigy who didn't learn anything in school until third grade.  Can you imagine sitting in a classroom for four years and learning nothing?  At times I felt like Jane Goodall.

We need to stop marginalizing extremely intelligent people by ridiculing their unique capabilities and diagnosing them with disorders they don't actually have.  Instead we need to integrate them into the classroom and teach them how to relate to their less academically inclined peers.

therealguyfaux
therealguyfaux

"Person" designations are helpful when the subject being discussed is how some human beings in the particular situation deal with it or react to it; to be more specific, one doesn't say "Autistics do thus-and-such" if such a statement would be an overbroad sweeping generalization that could easily be countered by specific examples.  One would naturally use a formulation such as "There are some people with autism who do thus-and-such."  It is only one step from such a move to then refer to all who have such a condition as "people with autism," which I agree can sound in its own way like a politically-correct warm-and-fuzzy we-are-all-children-of-Our-Lord patronizing phrase-- and, indeed, has probably been used that way by many.  It is similar to how some people refer to, yes, I'll say it, "persons with disabilities" as being "challenged" or "differently-abled";  it sounds nicer, and it's supposed to convey a message, I guess, but it still reeks of euphemism. Just say what it is the "person" (ah, that word again!) has, and be done with it-- blind person, deaf person, person who uses a wheelchair, mentally-slow person, person with disorder N, etc. etc.  It is about the least emotionally-loaded way I personally can think of to speak about those who have these conditions, I've done it all my life, and I would think that anyone who takes issue with my doing so HAS issues that they need to address.

vicky
vicky

I have been saying this all along. Autism and intelligence go hand and hand. I believe autism is an over stimulated brain. The more severe the autism the more severe the over stimulation. The less severe is what is referred to as high functioning. Look around in the family and close relatives of autistic individuals. You will most likely find some very intelligent people, you will also find some boarder line or undiagnosed autism. It runs in families.

HSPHealth
HSPHealth

Your suggestion that uterine conditions may affect the development of autism struck a chord.  Many highly sensitive people have autism.  The Geschwind Theory developed from research which found that anomalous fetal development occurred when the mother experienced stress during pregnancy increasing testosterone in her body and causing the right brain to develop earlier than would otherwise be the case. There is more information here. http://www.hsphealth.com/human...

JohnDStone
JohnDStone

I think we should recognise this autism/genius stuff for what it is: the PR cover up of a public health crisis out of control.

Cade DeBois
Cade DeBois

Oh dear god. People with autism--like myself--are human beings and autism is part of who we are in every way. Yet time and time again, both research and media coverage focuses on our intellectual abilities, as if that's the sum of what we are and what the autism experience is. The consequences of this on autistics (and yes, I am fine with calling ourselves that) is heavy: many autistics are not especially gifted, or gifted the ways other expect them to be but the expectations for  them to be smarter, cleverer, more unique and more 'special' grinds away at their self-esteem, self-possession and ability to assert themselves as individuals in society. It is also skewing autism research into focusing so narrowly on what having an autistic brain means, that there are many other ways that an autistic brain behaves differently which are not being studies properly, if at all. If there are autistics who aren't gifted then clearly being autistic does not ipso facto mean you're gifted. It must influence brain activity in a much broader way than merely our intellectual performance. But you wouldn't know that from research foci or media coverage.  

Cdog
Cdog

Actually the number of those with autistic traits who are prodigies is so small that one would need  a magnifying glass to see it.  Next time you write about autism you should write about the large numbers on the spectrum who are non verbal and still in diapers as teenagers.  "The world will little note what you say here" because too few can even begin to relate.

Maurine Meleck, SC

Lea Johnson
Lea Johnson

It is difficult to speak of autism in the context of this article and not sound condescending. I have studied Mozart, the man, and his music extensively. I have also a good deal of experience with autism and other learning styles, as a private music teacher.  Mozart was, obviously a musical genius. It is important to point out that he was in no other way exceptional.  He had a silly/zany sense of humor, and never landed a good job because he felt that stating his mind was more important. I feel he was much like Michael Jackson.  His father pushed him hard from a very early age, so maybe he was a coddled, over-protected boy who never had a normal life at all. Maybe he was autistic, maybe he wasn't.  Mozart was irresponsible, especially with money, and was quite the partier.  Aren't today's rock stars somewhat the same? Only Mozart did not have the money of a rock star, and was frequently in debt, being bailed out by friends and family.  Apparently he had the ego of one, though. He seemed to have plenty of friends, he just had an "attitude" because he was well aware of his genius. He seems to be either unaware of how to get and keep money, or was delusional to think that he and his five children (three of whom died very young) could do without it. He did not seem to grasp the idea that his behavior would, indeed, offend the powers that be to the point that a good solid position would elude him. He had numerous opportunities. So, does this add up to a prevalent condition? He had the classic "Peter Pan" syndrome. I think his circumstances and parenting had much to do with his development.

Beth Sahhar
Beth Sahhar

As a teacher of students with special needs, please make sure that when you write or speak about someone with disabilities, you put the person BEFORE the disability.  The article should say PEOPLE with autism, not autistic people.  People with disabilities should be known as the people they are, not their disabilities.

ABAteacher
ABAteacher

The media needs to a do a better job when talking about people with developmental disabilities. There are no "autistic people". There are people with autism. You would not call a man who has cancer, "cancer man", so don't belittle people with developmental disabilities by  referring to them this way. Please be considerate and use person first language. 

uglyasprecious
uglyasprecious

@Margaret Grace  Who said it was the distance formula? 

Yacko
Yacko

It's a stock picture from Getty images, not something created for this article. It's just a dumb picture representing a kid at a chalkboard. Was it real, staged, posed, did the kid actually write the equations or not, how many years ago? Doesn't matter.

"little professors … because they tended to lecture others

endlessly without being aware of their own tediousness."

There are more than a few comments on this article, like yours, that reflect the Asperger dysfunction.

Conuly
Conuly

 I kinda like differently-abled. It sounds like we're all Professor X! (Ah, if only that were true.)

Yacko
Yacko

I don't know what kind of connections the neurons in your brain are making, but you are going to have to explain that comment in way more detail to try to avoid appearing crazy.

EnoughFish
EnoughFish

 And the far larger numbers who are not in diapers or non verbal.

Please, stop with the accentuating the negative. It's a childish fallacy from a NT with severe empathy problems, a communication disorder and seems to be a repetitive action of yours.

Yacko
Yacko

That's the point. The number of functioning autistic are few. The number of prodigies, who seem to be somewhere in the autistic spectrum, fewer. There may be some relationship.

It's not celebrating autism, particularly the kind that affects the majority to the point of dysfunction, as some uber state we all should have.

Conuly
Conuly

 Surprisingly, there is no real link between intelligence and toilet training.

SuLiz
SuLiz

The author isn't writing about autism, she's writing about prodigies, and the characteristics that group of people might share. She is also describing a study done by others. She doesn't want people to "relate", but merely understand the distinction of prodigies.

JohnDStone
JohnDStone

I don't know that Mozart was that inept socially - he was given to flights of rudery which were part of the family culture. There was a big personality clash with the Archbishop of Salzburg: he had an appointment at the Viennese court but Salieri who had a better one continuously schemed against him: he got on well-enough with the Emperor who nevertheless did not properly appreciate his music. I think he was turned into an idiot for the film.

Beethoven, on the other hand, was quite Asperger but had a problem with heavy metal. A lock of his hair was recently found to contain >50x the normal level of lead.

EnoughFish
EnoughFish

 I am an autistic person. Please, shut up.

Conuly
Conuly

As an autistic individual, I find the very idea that by speaking in a funny way you "remember we're people" to be suspect. If I refer to a beautiful woman, I'm not forgetting she's a person just because she's beautiful. If I talk about my gay neighbor, I'm not forgetting he's a person either. (And I certainly would never refer to him as a "person with homosexuality"! That makes it sound like there's something WRONG with being gay.)

If you can't remember that disabled individuals are people unless you speak in a funny and stigmatizing way, changing your speech isn't going to help... especially when you insist on speaking *for* disabled people without reading one word disabled people (particularly autistics) have said on the subject. Many, many autistics dislike person-first language because the implications are offensive.

zoae
zoae

 Please do not speak for us - we can speak for ourselves.   To repeat my post above.  No, we do not want to be referred to like that.

Let me explain it to you. I am a woman, not a human with feminine qualities. I am an artist,

not a human with artistic abilities.  I am autistic, not a person who  has autism.

slndgrl
slndgrl

As an autistic person, I think the difference is that if you took the autism away, I would no longer be the same person.  I have other disabilities that you could feel free to take away, and I would still be pretty much me.

dsjoerg
dsjoerg

It would indeed be ridiculous to call him "cancer man".  The grammatically correct phrase would be "a cancerous man".

EnoughFish
EnoughFish

 Up yours. I am an autistic person and you are an anti-autistic bigot. Your presumptuous arrogance of assuming that our people should have our identities decided for us by people who aren't even autistic is arrogance in its purest form.

Congratulations, you provoked me. Now go chortle and make some more ratty comments.

IsameldinAbdelrahman
IsameldinAbdelrahman

You have enlightened me ! I'm sorry to title one of my poems on poemhunter.com ( Autistic girl) but what consoles me : I did it out of love to that girl with autism . I;m really very sorry

eetom
eetom

Don't call anyone "a fat man" but "a man who has fatness"! Don't call any family "a poor family" but "a family with poverty'!

Conuly
Conuly

 You do realize that most autistic individuals dislike person-first language, right?

I would refer to a man with cancer however he likes. I certainly would never presume to tell others how he prefers to be referred to. And yet you have no qualms whatsoever about telling everybody how to refer to autistic individuals, without even ASKING us!

Person-first language is stigmatizing. Nobody refers to good or neutral things using person-first language. Your man with cancer is a man, not a person with maleness. If he's bald he's not a person with hairlessness. If he's smart he's not a person with intelligence.

Person-first language calls extra attention to the person you're talking about, because it breaks the normal pattern of speech.

Person-first language is offensive in its very conception, the idea that somehow others might forget I am a person just because I happen to be autistic - unless, of course, they speak in a weird way. (Let me tell you, if you can't remember who is and isn't a person, person-first language isn't going to help. That's all you.)

Person-first language is disprefered by many autistics, but you, who are not autistic, wish to tell US how to speak? How rude is that!

zoae
zoae

Why oh why do teachers and parents keep thrusting this in our faces? No, we do not want to be referred to like that.

Let me explain it to you. I am a woman, not a human with feminine qualities. I am an artist,

not a human with artistic abilities.  I am autistic, not a person who  has autism. Notice a pattern?

But thank you so, so much  for comparing a valuable part of who I am to

cancer.

zoae
zoae

 I am a woman, not a human with 'feminine qualities'. I am an artist, not a human with artistic abilities. So yes, I am autistic.

But thank you so, so much  for comparing a valuable part of who I am to

cancer.  Do you want to cure me of being a woman and an artist? Are

those also diseases to that we need to 'cure'?

Cade DeBois
Cade DeBois

Speaking as an autistic person, I don't think someone who would equate a profound and indistinguishable part of myself (my autism) with cancer has any credibility over whether I should be called an autistic person or a person with autism. If you talked with autistic people, as opposed to simply talking about us, you would learn that we don't necessarily see this as an affliction despite the challenges autism brings. It's certainly not like cancer. 

shaolincrunk
shaolincrunk

I am an autistic person. I also happen to be short, and I don't call myself a "person with shortness." My housemate says "I'm a gay man," not "I'm a person of gay orientation." There's nothing belittling about using "autistic" as a descriptor in an article where potential identity as such is central to the thesis. I notice you have no complaints about the repeated use of "prodigies" instead of "children with extraordinary talents." Does that mean calling someone a prodigy is good/neutral, but calling them autistic is an insult? What does that say about how you see autistic people?

What gets weird is if I say "the New York Yankees' absurd payroll is bad for baseball" and you're like "WHAT NO THE YANKEES RULE COME ON" and later you tell your friends, "oh man, today I met an autistic who doesn't like the Yankees" even though my autism isn't relevant at all. But you know, substituting "oh man, today I met a person with autism who doesn't like the Yankees" doesn't really improve that sentence, either.

Maia Szalavitz has a track record of being pretty good at what she does, in my opinion, and I'm sure this is a topic she's given thought to before. Person-first language is well-intentioned, but frequently sounds worse than what it replaces. Ordering other people to use it makes you sound like the one obsessed with emphasizing people's differences.

Reythia
Reythia

Haven't you ever considered that "autistic" can also be an adjective describing behavior?  So I might say, "an autistic man" or "autistic behaviors" in the same way as I'd say "a shy woman" or "outgoing behaviors".  Or, in your case, "oversensitive analysis".

JohnDStone
JohnDStone

It's not that difficult. The US media which is more than 50% dependent on the pharmaceutical industry for advertising is awash with stories telling us that autism is no big deal, or even good news. The reality is that huge swathes of the population are being rendered disabled be "environmental" stimuli and no one dares publish about it in a mainstream source.

Conuly
Conuly

 That is, "a person who happens to be male and suffers from obesity" and "a group of people who are related to each other and suffer from poverty".

Yacko
Yacko

“little professors” because…they tended to lecture others

endlessly without being aware of their own tediousness."

From the article…I'm just sayin'

Conuly
Conuly

 Oh, god, I just about missed that. I am SO SICK of the autism = cancer metaphor. People, please. You want to stop being offensive? Knock it off. Person-first language isn't God's gift to human discourse, as seen by the fact that proponents of same still conflate autism and cancer.

ABAteacher
ABAteacher

I think it's wonderful that you and anyone else  are able to articulate how comfortable you are with being called an "autistic person". There are many people out there, with autism and other developmental disabilities, who are not as fortunate and may never be able to communicate those feelings of acceptance or disapproval. Person first language does not just apply to people with autism. There are many parents out there and professionals like myself who see more then a label when it comes to person. I did not equate autism with cancer. I equated why calling someone something other than a person first is inappropriate and obviously you see how ridiculous it sounds. 

EnoughFish
EnoughFish

I wonder why they don't apply the little professor label to NTs who don't know when to shut up.

RubyPanther
RubyPanther

 Did you intentionally leave out the words in between those words? The part about "their prodigious vocabularies and precocious expertise?"

From the article. Just sayin'...

zoae
zoae

lol. yep,  'Austic Artist'  pretty much sums me up :)

dirkxanicom
dirkxanicom

Talk about an autistic conversation with massive aspergers overtones! People, Lets stop beating this poor dead horse and move on. Okay?  This is a prime example of placing far too much importance on something that is of very little consequence.  I feel fortunate to be a person with an exceptional memory and the inability to discern when my simple explanation turned into a University level course and is often taken as my talking down to others.  I am 50 years old now, and I still cant ell when My explanation  turned into a discourse. That in conjunction with extreme social awkwardness and a perpetual distaste for the obvious and transparent affectations of the socially normal people   within society, I had to learn to cope and deal with these regular people. Was it just me, or was it also difficult for many of you out here like myself to remember that not all people thought things through in the same manner? I became very angry quite often over this very issue. I, even to this day, wonder how so many people are able to stumble through life, obviously without the slightest clue as to what they are doing or how it might affect their future.

EnoughFish
EnoughFish

 There are most autistic people telling you that you are arrogant beyond belief. So please, stop making assumptions to help support your bigoted state of mind and quit it.

RubyPanther
RubyPanther

 What, you think it's wonderful she can articulate, well. Well, well, well.

I think you should really in the future recognize that being an expert on polite language is not within your natural skill-set.

Conuly
Conuly

 You think that you are better qualified to speak on this subject than autistic individuals?

Who knows more about autism? You or us? Who is more similar to J. Q. Random Non-verbal Autistic Dude? You or us?

Your sheer arrogance is astonishing for a person with neurotypicality who teaches people with youth.