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Prevalence of clinically and empirically defined talents and strengths in autism.

Meilleur AA, Jelenic P, Mottron L - J Autism Dev Disord (2015)

Bottom Line: However, their reported prevalence varies between studies and their co-occurrence is unknown.The prevalence of SIS increased with intelligence and age.This suggests that talents involve an experience-dependent component in addition to genetically defined alterations of perceptual encoding.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: The University of Montreal Center of Excellence for Pervasive Developmental Disorders (CETEDUM), Hôpital Rivière-des-Prairies, 7070 Perras Blvd., Montreal, QC, H1E 1A4, Canada, ameilleur009@gmail.com.

ABSTRACT
Outstanding skills, including special isolated skills (SIS) and perceptual peaks (PP) are frequent features of autism. However, their reported prevalence varies between studies and their co-occurrence is unknown. We determined the prevalence of SIS in a large group of 254 autistic individuals and searched for PP in 46 of these autistic individuals and 46 intelligence and age-matched typically developing controls. The prevalence of SIS among autistic individuals was 62.5% and that of PP was 58% (13% in controls). The prevalence of SIS increased with intelligence and age. The existence of an SIS in a particular modality was not associated with the presence of a PP in the same modality. This suggests that talents involve an experience-dependent component in addition to genetically defined alterations of perceptual encoding.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

An example of two models of the modified block design task for the minimum (left) and maximum (right) perceptual coherence (PC) levels
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Fig1: An example of two models of the modified block design task for the minimum (left) and maximum (right) perceptual coherence (PC) levels

Mentions: Two perceptual tasks in which autistic individuals consistently perform better than TD controls were used to measure PP. This empirical study was part of a larger study on auditory and visual perception, containing a total of four different tasks (Meilleur et al. 2014). A pitch discrimination task (Bonnel et al. 2010) was used to measure the performance of low-level auditory perceptual processes. Frequency discrimination thresholds were measured at three levels (500, 1,000, 1,500 Hz), presented in a random order by a single adaptive staircase procedure and Harvey’s ML-PEST (Harvey 1997). Peak analyses were conducted on performance in the 500 Hz condition, because this condition was the most difficult condition and discriminated best between groups. Participants also completed a visual, modified BD task composed of three levels of perceptual cohesiveness (PC) (Caron et al. 2006). The PC level was manipulated by changing the number of opposite-colored edges, or edge cues. The higher the PC, the more difficult the task, and the larger the difference in performance between autistic and non-autistic individuals (Caron et al. 2006). The “Maximum PC” condition was used for peak analysis (Fig. 1), for similar reasons as the auditory task. In both tasks, participants who could not complete practice trials, obtain a minimum level of performance on initial test items, or complete enough trials to obtain a valid threshold measure, were excluded (Pitch task: three controls and seven autistic individuals; BD task: two controls and six autistic individuals). A PP was recorded as present if it occurred in one or both tasks.Fig. 1


Prevalence of clinically and empirically defined talents and strengths in autism.

Meilleur AA, Jelenic P, Mottron L - J Autism Dev Disord (2015)

An example of two models of the modified block design task for the minimum (left) and maximum (right) perceptual coherence (PC) levels
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4544492&req=5

Fig1: An example of two models of the modified block design task for the minimum (left) and maximum (right) perceptual coherence (PC) levels
Mentions: Two perceptual tasks in which autistic individuals consistently perform better than TD controls were used to measure PP. This empirical study was part of a larger study on auditory and visual perception, containing a total of four different tasks (Meilleur et al. 2014). A pitch discrimination task (Bonnel et al. 2010) was used to measure the performance of low-level auditory perceptual processes. Frequency discrimination thresholds were measured at three levels (500, 1,000, 1,500 Hz), presented in a random order by a single adaptive staircase procedure and Harvey’s ML-PEST (Harvey 1997). Peak analyses were conducted on performance in the 500 Hz condition, because this condition was the most difficult condition and discriminated best between groups. Participants also completed a visual, modified BD task composed of three levels of perceptual cohesiveness (PC) (Caron et al. 2006). The PC level was manipulated by changing the number of opposite-colored edges, or edge cues. The higher the PC, the more difficult the task, and the larger the difference in performance between autistic and non-autistic individuals (Caron et al. 2006). The “Maximum PC” condition was used for peak analysis (Fig. 1), for similar reasons as the auditory task. In both tasks, participants who could not complete practice trials, obtain a minimum level of performance on initial test items, or complete enough trials to obtain a valid threshold measure, were excluded (Pitch task: three controls and seven autistic individuals; BD task: two controls and six autistic individuals). A PP was recorded as present if it occurred in one or both tasks.Fig. 1

Bottom Line: However, their reported prevalence varies between studies and their co-occurrence is unknown.The prevalence of SIS increased with intelligence and age.This suggests that talents involve an experience-dependent component in addition to genetically defined alterations of perceptual encoding.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: The University of Montreal Center of Excellence for Pervasive Developmental Disorders (CETEDUM), Hôpital Rivière-des-Prairies, 7070 Perras Blvd., Montreal, QC, H1E 1A4, Canada, ameilleur009@gmail.com.

ABSTRACT
Outstanding skills, including special isolated skills (SIS) and perceptual peaks (PP) are frequent features of autism. However, their reported prevalence varies between studies and their co-occurrence is unknown. We determined the prevalence of SIS in a large group of 254 autistic individuals and searched for PP in 46 of these autistic individuals and 46 intelligence and age-matched typically developing controls. The prevalence of SIS among autistic individuals was 62.5% and that of PP was 58% (13% in controls). The prevalence of SIS increased with intelligence and age. The existence of an SIS in a particular modality was not associated with the presence of a PP in the same modality. This suggests that talents involve an experience-dependent component in addition to genetically defined alterations of perceptual encoding.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus