I was just reading a BBC News report about autism and measuring an autistic person’s intelligence. While I agree with Dr. Mottron’s assessment that real autistic people — those characterized by mental impairment — may be scored unfairly low on intelligence tests, I question his assertion that by recognizing their innate gifts, they can be more productive members of society. While there’s no doubt that some could, I wonder how many. Even in highly-structured and focused jobs like areas of law and science.
Having worked a little bit with autistic children (and those you would think were children) I wonder whether this is actually the case. All jobs require some degree of social interaction, unless you’re someone who runs their own business out of a home (freelance writing, for example), and many of the autistic people I’ve interacted with have a complete lack of social skills.
Though I think if even a handful of autistic people are able to live fuller lives, then Dr. Mottron’s research was worth the time, effort, and expense. After all, who is to say how many people have to be impacted before research becomes worthwhile?
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