Professor Nilli Lavie, from the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL, hypothesises that this combination of the ability to focus and a susceptibility to distraction might be caused by a higher than normal information processing capacity.
Professor Lavie says: “Our study confirms our hypothesis that people with autism have higher perceptual capacity compared to the typical population. This can only be seen once the task becomes more demanding, with more information to process. In the more challenging task conditions, people with autism are able to perceive significantly more information than the typical adult.”
I wonder, then, how this would also affect those with ADD/HD and if maybe any subtypes would be more akin to autism than not. Distractibility and autism kind of go hand and hand along with hyperfocusing, both of which are also a part of ADD/HD.
As it is, I already believe that the two are too similar to be separate conditions. This just adds to that growing list of reasons why they probably should fall under the same diagnosis, as far as I’m concerned.
But as the article reads, it seems to me that we can extrapolate that ASD children have difficulty processing information because as children, they simply don’t have the higher functioning capabilities (i.e. maturity, age appropriate cognitive skills being too young) as the adults to properly organize that information they receive. Or we could extrapolate that they aren’t being given enough information. I tend to think the latter is probably not correct simply because developmentally, they couldn’t do much with more information anyway but I do think that the prior could be a very real issue. The article does state that while not all ASD children are savants, they are likely to have the same processing ability.
So maybe the processing issues we know ASD children have, stem from a lack of maturity and those processing issues correct as they get older and develop their non-typical skills that help them to process that information the way they do.
Certainly an interesting assertion. Maybe all us parents that are desperately worried about our kids’ processing for no reason (well, no reason might be stretching it but you know what I’m saying). One thing we do know is that MR is not a symptom of ASD so processing disorders are always on the minds of parents of ASD children.