People with autism pave the way for our thinkers. From my experience of people with autism, I think they are mini geniuses with an untapped potential by the typical socially accepted world. There are three different types of thinkers, Visual thinkers, the verbal logic thinkers and the pattern thinkers. I also feel like each type of autistic thinker floats in a grey area between one and more of the types of thinking patterns. The one type of thinker I want to discuss is the visual thinker. A visual thinker thinks in pictures in their mind or physically in order to process information. These types of thinkers use visual imagery and really in depth version of a semantic network and a hierarchical model. When an autistic visual thinker is given a stimulus, they make a connection on a very deep basis. The example Temple used in the article is that when a child see a butterfly, they also see a chicken breast filet because both are similar in shape. A typical person working with an autistic child that thinks in this depth, make not be able to make the connect because the processing ability if far beyond a typical person. Just as in the semantic Network model, two people are given the same word, but the length of the given nodes vary with each person given the same stimulus. An autistic thinker stimulation from one stimulus fires on so many different neurons, than a typical thinker as you can see in the picture below.
Two component tracts within the language system. In Temple, the tract connecting from the visual object to motor and frontal cortex is ten times the volume of the control, while the tract that connects speaking what is heard (colored cyan) to speaking what is seen (colored fuchsia) is one tenth of the volume of the control tract. Image source: 60 Minutes | Schneider Lab. https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/07/05/research-shows-three-distinct-thought-styles-in-people-with-autism/amp/
By the looks of this picture, you can see that parallel distributed processing show that concepts are represented by activity that is distributed across many aspects of Temples’ brain compared to the control. Hence, I believe that autistic people are very intelligent people that the world isn’t prepared for yet and that is why it is very hard for an autistic person to function in Today’s typical society. They are looking at things from different angles and perceive things that most of us cannot even touch upon at this time.
Goldstein, B. (2011). Cognitive psychology: Connecting mind, research and everyday experience (3rd ed.). Wadsworth, Inc
Grandin, T. (2017). Forbes: Research Shows Three Distinct Thought Styles In People With Autism. https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/07/05/research-shows-three-distinct-thought-styles-in-people-with-autism/amp/