Mini lecture: Autism and talent

26 April 2010

About 10% of people with autism have a notable talent in some area, of this group there are a special few who are exceptionally talented.

Professor Uta Frith

“We hear a lot about the severe impairments that autism brings but we mustn’t forget that there are also some extremely interesting qualities in the mind of the autistic person that bring great strength and indeed talent.”

“What we find in the art of autism is a disregard of convention, people with autism are not hampered by social convention and this is one of the advantages and one of the beauties of art and expression in autism. There is much less preoccupation with appearance and social niceties so the person’s brain can develop one particular skill.”

In this video to mark Autism Awareness Month, Professor Frith from UCL’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience discusses talent and examines the ideas behind this phenomenon and what the autistic mind can tell us about our own.

Professor Frith also refers to her recently co-authored title ‘Autism and talent’ which draws attention to this subject – one of the least understood features of the autism disorder.

Image above right: Professor Uta Frith

UCL context

The Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (ICN) is an interdisciplinary research institute at UCL, bringing together different disciplines (e.g. psychology, neurology, anatomy) with common interests in the human mind and brain, in both health and disease.

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