superbrain for superboy

Bede is very intelligent (self-taught reader by age 2, hacks our passwords frequently) very autistic (unable to carry on a conversation, refuses to wear clothes) and very disabled (must have 1:1 aide in public and constant supervision at home.) He is quite the puzzle, to use a tired metaphor. So it was with great interest that I read this in the Telegraph: Autism is caused by a ‘supercharged’ mind.

Children who develop autism have “supercharged” brains that are so clever and sensitive that they make everyday experiences utterly overwhelming, new research claims.

“Our hypothesis is that autistic people perceive, feel and remember too much,” Kamila Markram told the New Scientist.

Faced with this “intense world” , autistic infants withdraw, with serious consequences for their social and linguistic development, she added.

Repetitive behaviours such as rocking and head-banging, meanwhile, can be seen as an attempt to bring order and predictability to a “blaring world”.

Most of the theories surrounding autism involve the idea of an underperforming brain but the Markrams believe the opposite is true with the brain being “supercharged”.

Their research, which included studying their own son who is borderline autistic, is backed up by one of the most replicated findings in autism which is abnormal brain growth.

At birth the brains of autistic children are small or normal sized, but grow unusually quickly.

By age two to three, when symptoms of autism occur, their brain volume is roughly 10 per cent larger than average.

Sounds right to me.

Finger-flick to Autism Vox.

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6 thoughts on “superbrain for superboy

  1. hmmm, fascinating!

    I think the “supercharged” brain theory makes a lot more sense than the underperforming brain theory…esp. given your experience w/ Bede. How could his brain be “underperforming” when he was reading by age 2?

  2. This goes along with what I’ve suspected for years. I’ve always thought that Josh is incredibly smart, but is taking in every little thing in his environment and not filtering anything. My suspicions of this started at a family reunion when he was 18 months old. There were at least 60 people there with 5 new babies, and he screamed the whole time when we were with the entire group. I didn’t realize at the time what was going on, but as I’ve thought back, that’s the hypothesis I’d come up with.

    Cool that researchers are confirming the observations of probably thousands of parents. :0

  3. yeah, that sounds completely right on to me. finally, “the experts” put two and two together. disabled is such an ugly word, and WRONG. it is the world that we live in that such special and amazing people having a hard time fitting in to,not the other way around. the issue is not with “them”, it’s us and we refuse to acknowledge it!
    “fitting in” would make their and our lives easier but we need these amazing beings to remind us how screwed we have let things get.

  4. I wish I could allow myself to believe that the ‘supercharged’ theory applied to all autistic people. Certainly it seems to apply to Bede. But “autism” is a catch-all word that is slapped on many different people for many different reasons. While it is possible that my brother was ‘supercharged’ and nobody knew what to do so he shut down early, I still believe that his brain was born with a significant cognitive impairment that no intervention could have brought him out of. But of course, this is now water under the bridge because no one took my mom seriously, let alone knew what to do about it, until after he was 2 and she screamed at his doctor, “There’s nothing wrong with his hearing!!!”

  5. I started writing a response and it turned into a blog entry, so I erased it and will post my own blog entry later today. lol. I WILL say that I TOTALLY agree with this for us. This is the core of why his dx was so delayed because what people said autism was and what I was sensing in Zane were two different things. (until I was able to see that the behavior was the same, I was just interpreting the root cause very differently…and still do)

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