Autistics do represent a large segment of the population, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimating, in 2014, that one out of 68 children are autistic.
Adult autistics will sometimes be attached to the same style of clothing for years.
Yet many people--especially autistic adults--are frustrated by how little benefit has actually materialized.
If we accept that autistic people are neurologically different rather than sick, the research goal changes from finding a cure to helping us achieve our best quality of life.
Mottron's research team has strongly established and replicated the abilities and sometimes superiorities of autistics in multiple cognitive operations such as perception and reasoning, as have others.
Dr Mottron said he did not want to underplay the challenges of autism, adding: "One out of 10 autistics cannot speak, nine out of 10 have no regular job and four out of five autistic adults are still dependent on their parents.
For example, autistics
shift flexibly back and forth between focusing on details of a scene or its overall configuration, whereas nonautistics single-mindedly concentrate on the big picture, she says.
Lou Arrendale is a high-functioning autistic
who must decide whether or not to undergo a procedure that will make him "normal.
Our wager was that autistics
could complete such a test and they surpassed our expectations," she added.
For most of his life, the 12-year old autistic
boy had uttered only single words or short phrases.
Indeed, Ritvo maintains, because some participants in the study were not screened for fragile X syndrome, nearly 17 percent of the autistics
might have had one of these diseases.
The push for new remedies no doubt reflects the mystery that surrounds the causes of autism and the dismal outlook for those afflicted with it: Fewer than one in 20 autistics
become independently functioning adults living outside institutions or custodial care.
The two research teams have noticed an intriguing abnormality in the brains of the small group of autistics
they have examined: The cerebellum, a portion of the brain involved with muscle coordination and the regulation of incoming sensations, contains fewer neurons known as Purkinje cells.
This made it possible to reduce or stop neuroleptic drug use for five subjects; neuroleptic medication is often used in an attempt to control aggressive behavior among autistics
, says Ratey, but it can lead to movement disorders (SN: 7/20/85, p.
spent as much time with the puzzle and cleanup chores as did the other children, but spent less time playing with dolls.