I read this post last night and have been thinking about it ever since, I remember watching a BBC programme several years ago that featured a young lad who had the ability to draw extremely accurate pencil drawings of architectural scenes after only one quick glance at the subject. I have little knowledge of autism, only bits and pieces that I’ve picked up or read while studying other topics, one thing that has always struck me about savants and autism in general is that people always approach the subject as if there is a defect or malfunction involved. There is an alternative possibility - that autism and the incidence of savant skills are a consequence of perfection.
It’s generally accepted that human thinking revolves around patterns and our ability to recognise them, everything we do, say or learn is directly linked to pattern recognition. I know my son by the pattern of his face I understand his words due to the association of patterns of tonal change and inflection with meaning. Autism seems to be an inability to recognise these patterns, at least to my untrained eye, but could the condition not stem from an overabundance of pattern recognition? Faced with too much information is it not possible that the subject may simply be unable to cope with the available data? The existence of Savants lends credence to this assumption, if savants are able to deal with certain pattern recognition, architectural shapes for instance, and their condition or ability to recognise patterns of that type is highly developed. To a point where they are near perfect , wouldn’t that offer a possible explanation of why savant abilities are so acute while other pattern related functions are suppressed?
All this is pure assumption of course and the wanderings of my own feeble mind, though there are some aspects of Autism that point towards pattern recognition as an important part of this condition. As I understand it people with autism display repetitive behaviour, swaying, hand flapping etc. I also understand that in some cases repetitive or patterned behaviour is an integral requirement of their day to day lives, eating the same foods on certain days and at set times for instance. Could this attempt to create patterns stem from the inability to process the myriad patterns overloading their thought process? Could they be too good at recognising patterns?