A new study in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders reports that autistic traits are associated with the generation of novel ideas for creative problem solving.
The report acknowledges that autism is characterised by impairments in social behaviour, communication, and imagination. "[T]he deficit in imagination is manifested as restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests, or activities ... Impaired imagination being a core feature of autism, it seems paradoxical that there are high profile cases of people with autism who exhibit creative flair in their fields of special interest ... These savant abilities occur far more frequently among people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) than other developmental disabilities ... Therefore it has been posited that autism cannot be explained by a deficit-only model but requires that we also explain the islets of preserved or even superior ability."