Autistic people have superior qualities

People with autism have a number of qualities and abilities that are superior to those enjoyed by others, new research has suggested. Published in the journal Nature, the study noted individuals should no longer consider the different brain structure of those with the condition to be a deficiency.

Dr Laurent Mottron of the Centre for Excellence in Pervasive Development Disorders at the University of Montreal - which has been in operation since 1878 - claimed the findings show autism should be viewed as an advantage in some spheres.

According to Dr Mottron's article, science needs to play a part in helping autistic people be brought back as members of the human community.

He stated: "It's amazing to me that for decades scientists have estimated the magnitude of mental retardation based on the administration of inappropriate tests and on the misinterpretation of autistic strengths."

Dr Mottron explained some of the areas in which autistic people display superior qualities include multiple cognitive operations, such as perception and reasoning.

Chartered Psychologist from the University of Reading Dr Tim Williams commented: "Dr Mottron has drawn valuable attention to the importance of recognising the skills of people with autism spectrum disorders.

"This has long been incorporated in the work of Tony Attwood in Australia and more recently Simon Baron-Cohen in Cambridge.

"Dr Mottron's research has highlighted the inappropriate use of psychometric tests across developmental disabilities which can both exaggerate and diminish the importance of measures of cognitive ability. Dr Attwood's work has focused on helping people with ASD see the benefits of their skills so that they can be helped to find their role in society.

"Professor Baron-Cohen has concentrated on explaining how the systemising skills are particularly strong in people with ASD. Clearly these are important findings which can be used to help people with ASD make the most of their lives and enable them to function optimally in society."