The paradox of autism: Why does disability sometimes give rise to talent?


We explore why people with autism spectrum conditions (ASC) not only show deficits but also areas of intact or even superior skill. The deficits are primarily social; the areas of intact or superior skill involve attention to detail and systemizing. Systemizing is the drive to analyse or build a system. We review the evidence related to systemizing in ASC and discuss its association with sensory hypersensitivity. We close by considering the evolution and adaptive features of systemizing and how-taken to an extreme-this can also give rise to disability.