Autism is a spectrum condition, meaning that it is manifested to varying degrees of severity. At one extreme, a person may have no social skills, no language, and major learning difficulties. At the other extreme, the individual may have average or even above average IQ, precocious vocabulary (though a lack of interest in small-talk or chatting), and odd social skills (being one-sided or extremely self-centered). The former would receive a diagnosis of classic autism. The latter would receive a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome (AS). Both of these are subgroups on the autistic spectrum. Both also share a strong preference for routines and repetition, and “obsessional” interest in highly specific topics.
The empathizing-systemizing (E-S) theory proposes that there are empathizing deficits in autism, while systemizing is either intact or superior. Empathy involves imagining another person’s thoughts and feelings, and having an appropriate emotional reaction...
- Baron-Cohen, S. (2008). Autism and Asperger syndrome: The facts. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar