Typically sensitive NY Times essay from the lovely Priscilla Gilman, on her autistic son confronting social expectations of the teen years:
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I enjoyed this article. My first question after finishing reading Quiet was how does introversion relate to the autism spectrum. Many of the indicators of introversion are apparent and exaggerated in people with an autism diagnosis. The bias toward extraversion in the culture could certainly explain some of the large increase in children diagnosed on the autism spectrum.
Many of the tools used to desensitize or to function in the extrovert climate are also used in autism education. Particularly with the higher functioning, having a passion for the subject can shift the behavior of someone with autism dramatically. There are theories that it’s not that these people can’t read social cues, but that they are so sensitized they can’t differentiate. There are also theories that people with autism actively tune out, as a self defense, and so miss social cues.
Any parent of a child with autism will tell you those children learn exactly which buttons to push, just like the “normal” kids.
I think it’s a great article about autism, I’ve myself Asperger Syndrome.
To my experience, introversion and the autism spectrum have overlapping characteristics.
Here are the differences in a table between “asperger” and “normal”.