Cognitive theories explaining autism spectrum disorder

Autistic disorder, sometimes called autism or classical ASD, is the most severe form of ASD, while other conditions along the spectrum include a milder form known as Asperger syndrome, and childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified usually referred to as PDD-NOS. Although ASD varies significantly in character and severity, it occurs in all ethnic and socioeconomic groups and affects every age group. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, March 30, Males are four times more likely to have an ASD than females.

Cognitive theories explaining autism spectrum disorder

Baron-Cohen proposed that children with autism suffer from mindblindness. Already hampered by the inability to achieve joint attention with others, they become unable to build on that fundamental step to intuit what others are thinking, perceiving, intending, or believing. They are not psychic; they are simply wired from birth to quickly acquire the ability to make a good guess at what others are thinking or planning.

The Extreme Male Brain Theory

The ability to discern whether another human is friend or foe is necessary to survival. Is the person approaching with that bat going to ask me to play ball or smash my skull in with it?

Instant judgments must be made, and action taken. In addition, he is Director of the nearby Autism Research Centre. People with autism spectrum disorders, in contrast, are viewed as lacking to an astounding degree the ability to empathize —to read via expression, body language, actions, and words emotions, intentions, and perceptions.

This builds on the mindblindness concept by including a more specific emotional aspect. A person with an ASD has trouble reading not just thoughts, but feelings.

Although people with ASDs lack a strong empathic sense, they are viewed in this framework as incredible systemizers. They possess an extreme male brain. They will be good, on the other hand, at evaluating non-human systems, such as machines, scientific phenomena, or a collection of objects, down to the lowest level of detail.

A very low functioning individual may line up objects in the same order again and again; a higher functioning individual may program computers.

Understanding and controlling human systems depends upon a rapid-fire ability to adapt to barely predictable, infinitely variable human actions. People on the spectrum tend to excel at focusing on extreme detail, and so are able to pick out a tiny element from a mass of complex data or objects.

When picking out extreme detail from surrounding masses of information was required, people with ASDs would be in a position to shine.

They would be good at parts, but not at wholes. They can even be very wrong. They may be accepted for years, however, before they are successfully challenged or disproved.

There was a time when autism was believed to be a solely psychological condition with no organic —that is, physical or neurological—basis at all.


The mother, it was supposed, had not wanted the child, and still did not, whether consciously or unconsciously. This view of autism was obviously very destructive. Of course, they had it backwards.

It was not that a stressed out and depressed parent created a child with an ASD, but that having a child with an ASD tended to make parents stressed out or depressed.Cognitive Theories & Symptoms of Autistic Spectrum Disorder Introduction Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior.

Social cognitive impairment and autism: what are we trying to explain? Susan Leekam The arrival of domain-specific social cognitive theories changed this focus, postulating a ‘primary’ and specific psychological impairment of social autism spectrum disorder continues to be defined as a behavioural syndrome.

Cognitive Theories Explaining ASD Theory of Mind and Autism In his book, "Mindblindness: An Essay on Autism and Theory of Mind," 1 Simon Baron-Cohen* explored what has become one of the central theoretical concepts .

Cognitive theories explaining autism spectrum disorder

During the past decade, the disrupted connectivity theory has generated considerable interest as a pathophysiological model for autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Linking Theories to Practice: Exploring Theory of Mind, Weak Central Cohesion, and Executive Functioning in ASD Contributed by Anna Merrill, MSEd, Graduate Assistant The variation of cognitive impairments in individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) presents a challenge for developing unifying theories of the core weakness.

Autism is characterized by impairments in social interaction, communicative capacity and behavioral flexibility.

Some cognitive theories can be useful for finding a relationship between these irregularities and the biological mechanisms that may give rise to this disorder.

Cognitive Theories & Symptoms Of Autistic Spectrum Disorder | Researchomatic