Students with autism and average intelligence regularly outperform nonautistic peers with the same IQ levels on mathematics problems, and their brains may approach the problems differently, according to a study published online last week in the journal Biological Psychiatry.
Researchers from Stanford University’s medical school and the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, both in Palo Alto, Calif., gave math problems to 36 7- to 12-year-old students of average IQs with and without an autism spectrum disorder.
Students with autism were more accurate and used more-sophisticated strategies to break the problem into component parts. Brain scans taken during the tests showed students with autism had activity in an area associated with understanding faces and other visual information.
A version of this article appeared in the August 28, 2013 edition of Education Week as Autism