Hundreds of hours of research helped explain how unexpected novelty, change, transformations and humor, relate to a core deficit for those on the spectrum. (Recent autism studies continue to support this–Berger et al, 2003, found poor cognitive shifting; and Ermich et al, 2003, found difficulty handling surprise and coherence within humorous narratives.). The lack of flexibility is really a symptom of a core difficulty in autism: Relative Information Processing (Dynamic Intelligence). Even more tragic than the negative emotions caused from a lack of flexibility, are the loss of so many positive experiences–of connection, joy, laughter, and excitement–which individuals on the spectrum are deprived of. We define flexible thinking as the ability to rapidly adapt, change strategies and alter plans based on changing circumstances.

Dynamic Intelligence Processes

Process

 

Description

 

Examples

 

CreativeFlexibleThinking Making discoveries in a self-generating manner Imagination, creativity, pretending, speculation, Self-evolving, Insight, Hypothesizing
Dynamic Analysis Processing information to determine critical meaning Centrality, Continuity, Figure-ground & Permanence Analysis Rapidly shifting between perspectives in appraising
a setting. Past-present-future perspective shifting. Rapidly shifting between one
perspective and another, Valuation of information. Determining change significance.
Episodic Memory Personal Episodic and Autobiographic memory encoding, consolidating, reviewing, integrating, planning, preparing, predicting, previewing Reflecting,Anticipating, Preparing,
planning, previewing, expecting,
predicting
Experience Sharing Continuous process analysis of self-other relationships Experience-Sharing
Communication, Maintaining self-other coordination of abstract referents. Integration of multiple referents into a (Self-Other + Self-Goal) more complex referent, Self-Other perspective shifting Self-Other Integration, Co-Regulation, Emotional Coordination, Inter-subjectivity
Self-Awareness Continuous-process analysis of
oneself in relation to one’s goals and identity
Identity, Self Evaluation, Self-Monitoring. Ongoing modification of actions based on monitoring change. Ongoing evaluation of actions relative to being off-course & requiring regulatory actions Ongoing modification of actions based upon consequences of prior actions in relation to a goal state. Permanent sense of uniqueness. Perception of coherent physical self