Article: Higher perceptual capacity in autism can be both strength and challenge


A great article in Spectrum News (originally on The Conversation) on the greater perceptual capacity of those on the spectrum. From a Stress Perspective this amplification occurs in only part of the spectrum, or may only be managed by select few (splinters skills are said to be seen as around 10% of the spectrum). This is certainly fascinating for my typical explanation to people about my experience of autism being a condition of “too much information”…

I particularly liked this paragraph:

Understanding that differences in attention might be due to this extra capacity, rather than an inability to filter out irrelevant information, can change the way we understand the condition and how we might intervene to help those who are struggling.

The intervention suggestion would to include methods of distraction, such as listening to music while reading.  This is consistent with my experience of needing to do other things in order to pay attention in classrooms and boardrooms. And previous research on doodling and fidgeting.  I would go on to suggest, since we are looking at ways to prevent meltdowns as well as sensory distractions. That we continue to look at the ways to manage this over-adaptation to stress (in creative populations), such as proper timing of breaks, sensory soothers, reducing toxic noise/light/radiation and looking at reducing immune activation or other inflammation challenges.

Read first paragraphs below or see full article on Spectrum News or the original full version on THE CONVERSATION


Higher perceptual capacity in autism can be both strength and challenge

by ,  /  16 May 2017
The Conversation

A group of friends is sitting in the garden chatting – only one person hears the ice cream van in the distance. That one person has autism. He is also able to hear the buzzing of electricity in the walls and sometimes finds it overwhelming to be in a noisy environment.

Our most recent work, published in Cognition, suggests why that might be the case: People on the spectrum can take in more sounds at any given moment than neurotypical people can.

Over the past few years, there has been growing awareness that sensory experiences are different in autism. What is also becoming clear, however, is that different doesn’t mean worse. There are many reports of people with autism doing better than those without the condition on visual and auditory tasks. For example, compared with typical people, those with autism spot more continuity errors in videos and are much more likely to have perfect pitch.

Source. Read more…

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