No, Being Autistic Is Not the Same As Being Highly Sensitive

No, Being Autistic Is Not the Same As Being Highly Sensitive

Key points Autism and high sensitivity are often incorrectly thought to be the same thing. The prevalence of autism is currently estimated at around 2 percent of the population, while about 30 percent are highly sensitive. Autism and high sensitivity differ in their relationship to environmental influence, information processing styles, and developmental trajectory. Roberto Nickson on Pexels. The internet is now the primary residence of popular or “pop” psychology; concepts and theories about human experiences, supposedly based on psychology that find acceptance among the public. Both autism and high sensitivity have found their way into this arena with thousands of pop psychology pages, websites, videos, articles, and social media accounts. Often these focus on areas of overlap between autism and high sensitivity and suggest these might be the same thing with two different names. Both the diagnostic criteria for autism and the measures assessing for high sensitivity include sensory experiences that differ from most of the population. According to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ,1 one of the diagnostic criteria for autism is: Hyper- or hypo-reactivity to sensory input or unusual interests in sensory aspects of the environment (e.g., apparent indifference to […]

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