“How can my spouse [with ASD] give me the impression that he’s listening to me, yet after the conversation, it’s clear to me that he didn’t understand what I was saying, because he doesn’t follow through with what I had asked him to do - and doesn’t even remember what I asked?”
When someone who can see the bigger picture looks at an endless row of trees, that person would see “the forest.” But an individual with weak central coherence can only see a lot of individual trees (or he may hyper-focus on the soil that the trees are planted in).
Traits of weak central coherence include:
- dislike for disruption to an established routine
- strong need for structure
- ability to hyper-focus on one activity for lengthy periods of time
- attention to parts of objects
- difficulty with sudden change
- insistence on sameness
- uneven cognitive profile (including savant skills)
On a positive note, the ability to focus on details can also be a strength, as evidenced by individuals with ASD who show remarkable ability in subjects such as mathematics, computer science and engineering.