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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Myth of the Normal Brain: Embracing Neurodiversity

By Thomas Armstrong
AMA Journal of Ethics. April 2015, Volume 17, Number 4: 348-352

Here is an excerpt:

Such strengths may suggest an evolutionary explanation for why these disorders are still in the gene pool. A growing number of scientists are suggesting that psychopathologies may have conferred specific evolutionary advantages in the past as well as in the present. The systemizing abilities of individuals with autism spectrum disorder might have been highly adaptive for the survival of prehistoric humans. As autism activist Temple Grandin, who herself has autism, surmised: “Some guy with high-functioning Asperger’s developed the first stone spear; it wasn’t developed by the social ones yakking around the campfire”.

Similarly, the three-dimensional thinking seen in some people with dyslexia may have been highly adaptive in preliterate cultures for designing tools, plotting out hunting routes, and constructing shelters, and would not have been regarded as a barrier to learning.

The entire article is here.