I’m not sure if Nature’s Neuroscience podcast Neuropod is slightly irregularly timed or I am, but either way the October edition is available online and covers cyber-monkeys, steroids, Alzheimer’s disease and autism.
The stand-out feature is the piece on autism where researchers, including the well-known Temple Grandin, are interviewed.
One of the most interesting bits is where Neuropod talks to clinical psychologist Kathrin Hippler about her research where she followed up some of the children who Hans Asperger observed during the development of the syndrome diagnosis.
Asperger’s Syndrome wasn’t so named until some time later, and at the time, the children were diagnosed as ‘autistic psychopaths’. Psychopath didn’t mean violent or dangerous in this context, it just implied emotionally disconnected.
Hippler’s study analysed the case records of ‘autistic psychopaths’ diagnosed by Hans Asperger and his team at the University Children’s Hospital, Vienna.
In a more recent study (which doesn’t seem to have been published yet) she followed up the children to see how they’re doing not, and it turns out that they’re actually doing pretty well.
She mentions about half are in relationships and many are in jobs that matched the ‘special interests’ they had as children.
If you’re interesting in reading more about contemporary kids with on the spectrum The New York Times had an excellent piece on the experiences of autistic teenagers.