Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Finding the strengths of people with autism

In recent years there has been a move away from focusing on autistic people's weaknesses towards appreciating their differences and respecting their strengths. Researchers at the universities of Montreal and Harvard studied 33 people between the ages of 14 and 36, fifteen of whom had autism. They were asked to complete patterns in Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices - a test that measures hypothesis-testing, problem-solving and learning skills. The autistic and non-autistic groups were matched for IQ and the people with autism performed 40% quicker. The participants in the study underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans as they took the test. The group with autism showed more activity in the perceptual regions of the brain - areas in which people with autism have particular strengths.

You can find out more about this research at

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