Empathizing with sensory and movement differences: moving toward sensitive understanding of autism

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Abstract

The autism diagnosis requires deficits in social interaction and communication, yet neither occurs in isolation. This brief literature-based analysis provides evidence that other factors are involved in autistic people's atypical social communication. The brain is a complicated system where regions serve multiple, general, and overlapping roles. Sensorimotor and broad cognitive processes underlie both neurotypicals' and autistics' social cognition and behavior. Sensory strengths sometimes underlie autistic people's difficulties, especially in dynamic contexts that require multimodal integration. Social abilities and behaviors occur between people in social contexts, and autistic and neurotypical people share mutual difficulties in understanding one another. This paper challenges attempts to reduce autism to social deficits, and suggests the need for better interpersonal and societal understanding of and support for autistic people.
Original languageEnglish
Article number38
JournalFrontiers in Integrative Neuroscience
Volume7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2013

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