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Might we be Calling Problems Seen in Autism Spectrum Conditions: ‘Poor Theory of Mind,’ when Actually they are Related to Non-Generalised ‘Object Permanence’?

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Abstract

Autism spectrum conditions (ASC) and the delayed development of object permanence is often not questioned, and is rarely understood. The following paper attempts to explore this idea and suggests reasons for why such development is delayed and the possibility that certain difficult behaviours seen in children with ASC are less likely to be connected to having poor theory of mind and more connected to lacking generalized concepts of object permanence.
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... The theory of mind theory of autism fails to account for the sensory hypo-and hyper-sensitivities, restricted interests, insistence on sameness and savant skills of many autistic individuals, focusing heavily on what could be considered one half of autism's diagnostic criteria (Frith and Happé 1994). Additionally, it often fails to attend to the autistic voice, and has been criticised for being based on misunderstandings of the autistic social inference processes (Milton 2012(Milton , 2014a) and sensory differences (Lawson and Dombroski 2015). Weak central coherence theory also does not account for all findings in sensory processing. ...
... The model tries to minimise prediction error from a very flexible self-model by acting on the world to enforce the restricted environments in which that self-model effectively reduces prediction error. This would explain the particular and focused energy with which some autistic individuals engage in their chosen areas of expertise, and also the insistence on sameness and learned routines, which are highly predictable (Lawson and Dombroski 2015). As such, in the world that an autistic individual creates for themselves, if it could be perfectly controlled and isolated, this model (Fig. 3) would predict that they would be better at self-modelling than the neurotypical model in its own created environment. ...
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Does motivational interest increase gamma synchrony across neuronal networking to enable computation of related sensory inputs that might lead to greater social understanding in autism spectrum conditions (ASC)? Meaning, is it possible/likely that in autism because individuals process one aspect of sensory input at any one time (therefore missing the wider picture in general) when they are motivated/interested or attending to particular stimuli their attention window is widened due to increased gamma synchrony and they might be enabled to connect in ways that do not occur when they are not motivated? This is my current research question. If gamma synchrony is helping with the binding of information from collective sensory inputs, in ASC, when and only if the individual is motivated, then this has huge potential for how learning might be encouraged for individuals with an ASC.
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Autistic intelligence, autistic perception and autistic patterns of thought that we all share in different degrees -an update
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Autism might slow brain's ability to integrate input from multiple senses
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