Vladerag's Blog

{February 25, 2010}   Social Autism

This is mostly just a thought that occured to me.  Given that autism spectrum disorders could be considered disorders of hyperfocus, where the person becomes highly involved in one particular subject, would it not be possible to have autistic people interested in being social?  Would these people be social butterflies incapable of getting good grades?  They certainly wouldn’t show the main sign of autism, lack of any real social interaction, and would probably go undiagnosed.

This could mean that many, many, more people have autism than previously believed.  However, these people are probably written off as stupid socialites. 

Of course, it might not really be considerd autism.  To have a diagnosis as Autisitic, a person must display: 

(A) qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:

    1. marked impairments in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body posture, and gestures to regulate social interaction
    2. failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
    3. a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people, (e.g., by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people)
    4. lack of social or emotional reciprocity ( note: in the description, it gives the following as examples: not actively participating in simple social play or games, preferring solitary activities, or involving others in activities only as tools or “mechanical” aids )

(B) qualitative impairments in communication as manifested by at least one of the following:

    1. delay in, or total lack of, the development of spoken language (not accompanied by an attempt to compensate through alternative modes of communication such as gesture or mime)
    2. in individuals with adequate speech, marked impairment in the ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others
    3. stereotyped and repetitive use of language or idiosyncratic language
    4. lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe play or social imitative play appropriate to developmental level
    (according to autreat.com)
    So someone who has “social autism” would not be diagnosed as such.  Therefore, help couldn’t be available to them.  It is an interesting quandry for a problem that might not even exist.

et cetera