Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Article: A Radical New Theory

This is exactly what I've been saying all along! I've actually been pretty much taking it for granted my whole life. Oversensitivity can make you seem cold and distant. Too much noise can make voices hard to isolate. Being afraid of literally everything--and just going on with life anyway--can make you seem fearless. This last point can be dangerous. If everything hits your sensors as a life-threatening crisis, then you have to make a habit of ignoring the alarms that go off.

A Radical New Autism Theory
By Maia Szalavitz

A groundbreaking study suggests people with autism-spectrum disorders such as Asperger's do not lack empathy—rather they feel others' emotions too intensely to cope.

People with Asperger's syndrome, a high functioning form of autism, are often stereotyped as distant loners or robotic geeks. But what if what looks like coldness to the outside world is in fact a response to being overwhelmed by emotion—an excess of empathy, not a lack of it?

This idea resonates with many people suffering from autism-spectrum disorders and their families. It also jibes with new thinking about the nature of autism called the “intense world” theory. As posited by Henry and Kamila Markram of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, suggests that the fundamental problem in autism-spectrum disorders is not a social deficiency, but rather an hypersensitivity to experience, which includes an overwhelming fear response.

(more at The Daily Beast...)

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