WE ARE OUR BRAINS - CHAPTER 9


AUTISM

Severely disrupted social skills and a very confined repertoire of activities and interests are effects of autism.

Too much brain volume between the ages of two and four is observed in children with ASD, delaying growth in some areas and prematurely ending it in other areas.

Main known causes: genetics, paternal age, metabolic disorders of infections in womb, older parents, oxygen deprivation at birth.

Motor problems may be due to an underdevelopment of the cerebellum.

Problems interpreting emotion in others. Shying away from bodily contact.

Oversensitive to certain sounds. They can focus so hard on their task that they fail to hear what is being said to them.

Savants about a tenth of children with autism have a talent that sharply contradicts their mental disability and handicaps. Few of them become creative adults, either because their kind of talent or their personality.

Talents are largely possessed by boys and are in the fields of art, music, calendar calculation, instantaneous mental calculation, almost hand in hand with a remarkable memory.

There has to be brain damage, and at an early stage, so other connections can be reinforced to allow the development of savant qualities.

One theory states that everyone possesses savant qualities localised in the lower regions below the cerebral cortex that are suppressed by higher processes. They can be expressed by switching off the part of the brain that controls the higher functions. Savant qualities go hand in hand with loss of language and social skills.

#WAOB

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