Monday, October 6, 2008

Strengths of Asperger’s: Genius and Intellectual Gifts

Check out the latest autism article in the UK’s TimesOnline: Autism genes can add up to genius: Intellectual gifts and certain brain disorders are closely related, by Jonathan Leake. Leake discusses a Cambridge University study by Simon Baron-Cohen which studied mathematicians and their siblings and found a much higher rate of autism among them than in the rest of the population.  Baron-Cohen stated,  “It seems clear that genes play a significant role in the causes of autism and that those genes are also linked to certain intellectual skills.” This new study seems to agree with some of Baron-Cohen’s earlier work, where he found, “Separate studies have shown that the fathers and grandfathers of children with autism are twice as likely to work in engineering. Science students also have more relatives with autism than those in the humanities.”


In the article, Leake also discusses a study by Patricia Howlin, of the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, which found 39 of 137 people with autism possessed an “exceptional mental skills, such as memory.”


Thanks to the Autism Hub blog LeftBrainRightBrain for pointing me in the direction of this article.