Beyond Adversity

Enjoying Life After Adversity

RSS 2.0

Unusual Activity

2013-1126 Adding NumbersAccording to an article in Neuroscience News, a study conducted by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital determined “children with autism and average IQs consistently demonstrated superior math skills compared [to] non-autistic children in the same IQ range.” Vinod Menon, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences – and a member of the Child Health Research Institute at Packard Children’s Hospital – noted “there appears to be a unique pattern of brain organization that underlies superior problem-solving abilities [in some autistic children].”

The study was designed such that participants solved math problems while their brain activity was measured in an MRI scanner. Brain scans of autistic children revealed an unusual pattern of activity in the ventral temporal occipital cortex an area known to process visual objects, including faces.

Menon added that previous research “focused almost exclusively on weaknesses in children with autism. Our study supports the idea that the atypical brain development in autism can lead, not just to deficits, but also to some remarkable cognitive strengths. We think this can be reassuring to parents.”

Share Your Thoughts

  • What can you do that professionals, family members, or friends said you would never do?
  • How does adversity expand your opportunities?
  • Which of your deficits have proven to be assets at school, work, or home?
  • What compensation tools do you find most useful?
  • How do you remain optimistic about your future?


Menon is senior author of the study, published online in Biological Psychiatry. Postdoctoral scholar Teresa Luculano, PhD, is the lead author.

Other Stanford co-authors are postdoctoral scholars Miriam Rosenberg-Lee, PhD, and Kaustubh Supekar, PhD; social science research assistants Charles Lynch and Amirah Khouzam; Jennifer Phillips, PhD, clinical associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and a clinical psychologist at Packard Children’s; and Lucina Uddin, PhD, instructor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences.

The study was funded by grants from the Singer Foundation, the Stanford Institute for Neuro-Innovation & Translational Neurosciences, and the National Institutes of Health (grant MH084164).

Contact: Louis Bergeron – Stanford University Medical Center
Source: Stanford University Medical Center press release
Original Research: The research was published in Biological Psychiatry.

Even after brain surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments to eradicate his brain cancer, Scott continued to work; continued to study; and earned professional certifications from the Project Management Institute, American Society of Quality, and Stanford University School of Professional Development. How were all of these achievements possible at a time when Scott was struggling with the hurdles of brain injury? The answers are in this blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

**** About The Author ****

During the past 13 years, I have been diagnosed with cancer, brain injury, balance issues, stroke, ataxia, visual impairment, and auditory challenges. I have overcome significant adversity! I can explain how to overcome your challenges. I am a very active Toastmaster and a motivational speaker.