Tyler Cowen escribe en The Chronicle Review un artículo combatiendo el estereotipo del autista como una persona afectada por una enfermedad o deficiencia mental. Sobre este fenómeno sabía poco más de lo que cuentan en Mercury Rising y me ha sorprendido descubrir que el espectro autista es tan complejo y diverso. Al parecer hay más de un millón de autistas solo en Estados Unidos, lo que significa que probablemente conocemos a varios autistas sin saberlo.
Una razón por la que se ha consolidado el estereotipo:
In spite of some of the common rhetoric, each year specialists are teaching us more about the cognitive strengths of the autism spectrum. In the 1960s, it was a common view that, except for a few savants, most autistic people were intellectually disabled ("mentally retarded" was the less than felicitous term), and to some extent this stereotype persists today. But a growing body of work pinpoints areas where autistics outperform nonautistics.A partial list notes that autistics have, on average, superior pitch perception and other musical abilities, they are better at noticing details in patterns, they have better visual acuity, they are less likely to be fooled by optical illusions, they are more likely to fit some canons of economic rationality, they solve many puzzles at a much faster rate, and they are less likely to have false memories of particular kinds. Autistics also have, to varying degrees, strong or even extreme abilities to memorize, perform operations with codes and ciphers, perform calculations in their head, or excel in many other specialized cognitive tasks. The savants, while they are outliers, also reflect cognitive strengths found in autistics more generally. A recent investigation found, with conservative methods, that about one-third of autistics may have exceptional skills or savantlike abilities. (...)
I don't want to push you too much in the direction of stereotypes such as "the absent-minded professor." Some people fitting that profile may well be on the autism spectrum, but the spectrum also includes beautiful women with charming smiles, enthusiastic extroverts, people who cannot produce meaningful speech, and people who make very clear and effective public speeches from memory alone. Tony Attwood, an Australian psychologist with extensive diagnostic experience, believes that acting is a profession well-represented on the autistic spectrum. The point is not to convince you of any single profile of autistics or to replace your old stereotypes with new ones. Rather, we keep on learning that the diversity of autistics is greater than we used to think.
[D]iagnosed autistics are very often those people who encounter major problems in life. Most higher-status autistics don't ever show up for diagnosis or intervention, and many of them have no great need for it or no real awareness of it, or, even if they are having difficulties, they fear the stigma of a diagnosis. Common samples of autistics, as you find studied in a typical research paper, show many more problems, and many fewer successes, than is most likely the case in a true population sample of autistics. In other words, there is enormous selection bias. Research on autism is only starting to confront that problem.Leedlo entero, es un poco largo pero vale la pena si os interesa el tema.