This striking conclusion, announced by autism researchers early this morning, is based on the new DSM criteria for autism:
A. Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contextsHere, criterion by criterion, are their findings:
B. Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities
C. Symptoms must be present in early development
D. Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning.
E. These disturbances are not better explained by intellectual disability or global developmental delay.
A. It turns out that most socio-linguistic communication by neurotypicals consists of utterances that are impoverished of real content (i.e., of new and interesting information), full of meaningless fillers like “so,” “like,” “really”, and “yeah,” and frequently insincere. Insincerity also pervades non-linguistic social communication, which consists mostly of fake smiles, insincere laughing sounds (so-called “social laughter”), and meaningless gestures.
B. Most subjects are of zero interest to most neurotypicals, especially beneath their superficial surfaces: quantum physics, astrophysics, geology, cell biology, organic and inorganic chemistry, materials science, civil engineering, history (whether intellectual, political, military, or even social), baroque music, renaissance art, Chinese philosophy, geography, and current events—to name just a few examples. One indication of this is how little most neurotypicals know about any of these subjects. Few, for example, can even locate Nigeria on a globe, let alone say anything about today’s election results. To paraphrase Temple Grandin, most neurotypicals seem content to sit around and chat about absolutely nothing.
C. Studies of social interactions among young children indicate these symptoms appear extremely early in neurotypical development.
D. These symptoms impair the quality of social interactions; they also impede occupational function and important life skills, as seen in the widespread incompetence (illiteracy, innumeracy, overall ignorance, poor planning skills, and susceptibility to bogus statistics, false logic, and quack theories) of so many fully-grown adults. Take the education world, for example. Or the world of autism. Indeed, these symptoms have severely impeded the occupational functioning of researchers hung up on narrow, rigid theories of autism, and therapists (particularly of the armchair variety) deficient in Theory of Autistic Mind (or the ability to empathize with autistic individuals—or their parents).
E. Given the pervasiveness of these symptoms in the neurotypical population, they cannot be better explained by intellectual disability or global developmental delay—unless we are going to say that nearly all neurotypicals are intellectually or developmentally disabled.