The connections in autistic brains are idiosyncratic and individualized — Each autistics’ brain is distinct; non-autistics’ brains are remarkably uniform

You’ll often hear, those of us involved with autism say, “If you’ve met one child with autism, you’ve met one child with autism,” but never before have I seen a study that so accurately captures what we have observed.

Autistic brains, in contrast, were all different. Each had regions of high and low connectivity, and there were regions whose connectivity was increased relative to controls and those that were decreased. But no standard template emerged; when these scans were superimposed one atop the another, no distinct areas of high and low connectivity were discernible.

This comparison of grouped brain scans, rather than just the individual ones, revealed that the unusual pattern in the connectivity of ASD brains is due to the topology of their connectivity patterns and not necessarily the strength or weakness of any given connections. It also revealed that people with ASD have more individualized, idiosyncratic connectivity patterns than controls do. Each autistic brain differed from the norm, but each did so in its own way.

The sample size is small and limited, but it reflects fairly accurately what I have observed of the many different individuals I’ve encountered with autism.

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