Alexithymia. Prosopagnosia. Ponderous terms, perhaps, but when it comes to autism, being diagnosed with one or both of these conditions can leave a person floundering.
In How Much of Asperger's Is Really Face or Emotion Blindness?
, John Elder Robison reveals his struggles with missing the “larger emotional picture” when faced with strangers, friends, or family. Prosopagnosia, or face blindness, rendered him incapable of recognizing people he knew when he encountered them in different settings. Alexithymia, a condition where people have difficulty reading emotions, also contributed to his sense of disconnect.
Yet until very recently, Robison didn’t know he had either of these two conditions at all. As an adult with autism, he had learned to compensate to some extent for things he was missing, using learned responses or methods to hide behind what he perceived as a puzzling weakness. It was only when he participated in testing that he learned there were names for the conditions he had.
Now his question is, are prosopagnosia and alexithymia independent disorders, or part of the autism spectrum? Tell us what you think in the comments.
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