Students with autism likely candidates for STEM degrees

Young people with autism spectrum disorders are often overlooked as a source of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) talent, according to Nature, an international weekly science journal.

A study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders revealed that students with autism more often chose science, technology, engineering and math as college majors than the general population of students.

However, students with autism are less likely to enter college, holding the third-lowest enrollment rate of all disability groups.

A common characteristic of people with autism is a strong understanding of systems and analysis, and a sometimes weak, or below average, understanding of emotional and social thinking.

”It may be that people with autism naturally think like scientists,” Simon Baron-Cohen, director of the Autism Research Center at the University of Cambridge, told Nature. “They look for patterns, and, in science, you are always looking for patterns that you hope reflect a natural law.”