Are autistic people cognitively disabled? Can they have special skills?
Autistic impairments may be associated with cognitive disabilities. Two-thirds of those with Autistic Disorder (classic Autism or Kanner syndrome) have been assumed to be mildly handicapped in cognition and intellect. Most people with Asperger’s have average to higher IQ. Across the autistic spectrum, perhaps 10 per cent have distinctive abilities—in such fields as art, music, mathematics or memory—and may be called autistic savants. (The proportion of people with such special abilities in the whole population is only one per cent). It was conjectured that several people of remarkable genius may have had Asperger’s–including Albert Einstein, Vladimir Nabokov, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Bela Bartok and Andy Warhol. As well, people with Autism may have a highly developed sense of pattern and spatial order that can be trained into a marketable skill.
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