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The Broad Spectrum of Autism and Geeks

Did you know that Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein were among the multitudes of people who fell into the broad spectrum of autism?

Dr Grandin


It has recently been announced by the CDC that the increase of cases of autism had arose by 78 percent between 2002 and 2008. We believe much of the increase is due to the increased awareness of the broad spectrum of autism and more people have been identified within in that spectrum than before.

Still, it’s an alarming figure and Dr. Temple Grandin, a life long autistic, has written and lectured on the subject with some interesting insight. In a story by Linda Clarke on Metro.US we find Dr Grandin’s quote “If there weren’t autism, we’d have no engineers, artists and scientists,” Dr. Grandin, whose new book is “Different … Not Less,”

“I call it the ‘geek genes.’ If you look at films of mission control and the people operating the space program, it’s definitely ‘geek genes’ at work there. Autism is a broad spectrum.”

Dr. Grandin names Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein as being among the millions of people within the autistic spectrum, which ranges from mild to severe and includes variants like Asperger’s syndrome and Heller’s syndrome: “Einstein didn’t speak until he was three,” she says.

The story goes on with tips on how to deal with autism and what early signs we should be looking for.

“The most important thing is early intervention,” Dr. Grandin says. “It’s essential to identify the child’s behavioral profile and build on their obvious skills. If they are good at art, encourage that. If they are good at math, build on that. It makes all the difference.

Early signs

The seven early signs of autism spectrum disorder every parent should know:

By 6 months: No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions.

By 9 months: No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions.

By 12 months: Lack of response to name.

By 12 months: No babbling or “baby talk.”

By 12 months: No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving.

By 16 months: No spoken words.

By 24 months: No meaningful two-word phrases that don’t involve imitating or repeating.

Observing these red flags does not mean that a diagnosis of ASD will be made — there can be many other clinical issues in play, and in some cases development may in fact just be delayed. Source: Helpguide.org/parents.com.

Those who fall into the broad spectrum of autism will have challenges ahead, the severity of them will be mostly determined by the degree to which they are affected. Dr. Grandin believes it is more difficult to grow up with autism these days because of poor quality of parenting in general, specifically the lack of education in social skills. To put it simple, parents need to do a better job of teaching manners and proper behavior.

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