Silicon Valley and Autism

Autism in Silicon valley

So…is the high incidence of autism in Silicon Valley a coincidence?  More and more research is being done and various theories are rearing their heads.  A recent piece has muted that the high rate of autism there is down to highly intelligent parents having a greater chance of having autistic children.  A valid theory but doesn’t take into account the fact that autism is a genetic condition and therefore it’s very likely that the parents themselves already have a degree of autistic tendencies.  Autistic people have a tendency to ‘pattern’ thinking and some can map computer programmes in their heads before ever writing a single character of code so they are extremely well suited to careers in computer technology and engineering.

Positive Autism

General thinking about autism tends to be a little more positive in the USA.  People are starting to wear their autism with pride as my own children do.  Employers in America are already seeing the positive benefits of employing people with the condition as their unique way of thinking is very beneficial in certain jobs.  Added to that their ability to focus and the fact they are happy to work endless hours engrossed in a particular task and they become the perfect employee!  I have heard of a firm of Architects locally that actively seek to employ people on the spectrum so the shift is starting to change subtly here as well.

Thinking in Patterns

Several of my own children tell me that they see numbers as shapes and colours which enables them to remember things like Pi to several hundred places.  They also see days of the week as colours and patterns along with numerous other things.  Osborn sees the words he is speaking scrolling across his mind and also sees the words of the person he is conversing with in the same way.  They are all constantly seeing patterns everywhere and trying to get me to see what they can visualise so easily.  I feel totally incompetent a lot of the time!!

My kids often make me feel totally inadequate due to their autistic talents!


Thinking in Numbers

Daniel Tammet is a mathematical genius who has written several books.  He is an autistic savant, a rare form of autism but his books are a fascinating insight into how his brain works.  I’ve been predicting for years that there would come a day when employers would actively seek out autistic people for certain jobs and despite the ‘nay sayers’ I’ve encountered along the way, that day certainly does seem to be dawning.  Neurotypicals like me need to watch out, we’re all going to be redundant one day!!!

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