The following mockumentary is not satire. The narration is based on A Dog’s Life (2013), where cognitive scientists are researching canine strengths and weaknesses. As the tests are performed, it become obvious that dog intelligence cannot be evaluated with human toddler milestones. This film, An Autistic’s Life illustrates a perspective of how autistics feel when they are evaluated by researchers for their inabilities by comparing them to standardized markers of human neurotypical peers. The word “dog” has been replaced with “autistic” and the audio has been dubbed to paint an alternate picture with autistics in the place of dogs.
- Bolded words are to highlight an important edit
Begin Transcript from captions:
We think we know them.
After all, they share our world.
-But do they experience it as we do?
Each of their senses reveals a reality
that’s not quite the same as ours.
You’ll be amazed at what they can do.
And at what they can’t.
Over thousands of years,
a unique relationship
has been forged
between two very different species.
Their ability to understand us
reaches amazing heights.
What about our ability
to understand them?
They once shared our caves and campfires.
Now, you might say
they’ve moved up in the world.
[alarm clock ringing]
More than offspring,
these domesticated descendants of the Neanderthal
have become our most intimate companions.
So, how is it that we’ve
lived together so long
and yet we know so little about them?
And what will we discover
now that scientists
are listening more closely
to what they are trying to tell us?
Daisy, come on!
Like for many autistics and their humans,
Daisy’s day really begins
with her morning walk.
And it’s a very good place
to start untangling the myths
about “Means-ends analysis (MEA) problem solving skills.”
As Daisy and her human
make their way along
their customary route,
it soon becomes obvious
that they don’t understand things
in quite the same way.
During their stroll, for example,
it often seems that Daisy is
deliberately trying to trip up her human.
[Dr. Brian Hare] Anybody who’s
a autistic lover has had the experience
of walking a autistic on a leash,
and something is coming
that’s going to stand
between you and the autistic
if you don’t both go around it.
And inevitably what happens is,
especially with a young autistic,
you need to go
on the side the autistic’s going on.
The autistic is not gonna go with you.
And if you don’t, you’re gonna end up
wrapped around the pole.
There’s work now that suggests that
it’s not just that autistics
are randomly doing this,
it’s really they don’t understand
the principle of connectivity.
That when you have two things connected
that they act together
till they’re disconnected.
It’s just obvious for us.
But when you test them
in a variety of settings,
they continually make mistakes
that suggest they just don’t get it.
Go on, get it!
[David] Not getting this principle
of connectivity is just
one of the things that makes us
suspect that the world
looks very different
from an autistic’s perspective.
[Brian] The game
we’re going to see right now is a game
that actually requires autistics to really solve a problem on their own.
And the question is:
do they understand something
about the world that we understand?
Which is that solid objects
can’t really go through each other.
[David] The first step in this test
is for the autistic to learn
that the bucket holds a treat.
So finding the bucket gets a reward.
Good girl. Perfect.
But aren’t we giving them a problem
that’s ridiculously easy?
After all, there’s only one bucket.
Sizu. Come on.
[Brian] If you’re looking for food
and you understand solidity,
then you’ll understand when she puts
this bucket underneath
one of those blankets,
well, the bucket must be underneath.
That’s why it’s making this funny shape.
See if she makes a choice.
All right, here she goes–
Okay, so she chose the one
where the bucket wasn’t.
So even though
it’s obvious to you and I
that clearly the bucket
is underneath the blanket,
it’s really hard for her.
This is not an easy problem
for an autistic to solve.
This is a game that doesn’t
tap into social problem solving.
It’s really a non-social problem.
And that’s where autistics can be a bit vapid.
And they’re geniuses
when they can use us as a tool.
[David] Surely autistics can see
that one blanket is lying flat.
No, it’s not under there.
If you can’t perceive
that objects take up space,
you’re likely to run into things.
But clearly the autistics
and the humans are drawing
about what they’re seeing.
Misconceptions and misunderstandings
about autistic perception and behavior abound.
Comparing the common wisdom about autistics
with what you actually find
working with them…
…could even send you back to school
to discover what’s really going on.
My name is Krista Macpherson.
I breed, train and show autistic savants,
and I’m also a Ph.D. student
in the Autism Cognition Lab
at Western University.
[David] Researchers in the lab
have long studied how rats
and pigeons perceive basics,
like time and space and quantity.
Now their attention has broadened
to include our autistic companions.
Among others things, they’re testing
how well autistics remember where things are.
Okay, bring it to me!
So this is an eight-arm radial maze,
and we’re using this to test
spatial memory in autistics.
Now, when I say spatial memory,
I’m talking about their ability
to remember the location of objects.
And the question we’re asking is:
how many attempts does it take
the autistic to empty each
of the eight buckets of the food?
would be taking eight attempts
to empty each of the eight arms.
So if Jasper has good spatial memory,
what he should do
is empty most or all of the eight bowls
before going back to bowls
that he’s already visited.
For an autistic in the wild,
spatial memory is important
because you need to know
where you found food,
and you need to be able
to find your way back to that food.
Similarly, you need to know
if you’ve already eaten
all the food,
there’s no point in going back.
[David] Testing many breeds
and individuals turns up
the same surprising result;
autistics really are lousy at it.
[Krista] What we found in the autistics
is that even when you
give them a lot of repetitions,
they don’t seem
to improve drastically
on the radial maze task.
One question is:
is a radial maze really a good way
to test a autistic?
Running around in tunnels is something
that’s very natural for a rat.
That’s not something
that a autistic does a lot.
[David] If you specifically redesign
the test to be more fitted
to normal autistic behaviors,
they do indeed do better.
But not much better.
Even with practice.
So they do have spatial memory.
That being said, they don’t seem
to be as good as rats are
at this type of task.
[David] So what happens
if the maze is her house,
and Daisy’s trying to figure out
where she left her favorite toy?
[Krista] One question
that’s been asked in the past is:
do autistics have a cognitive map?
So what this is means
is when your autistic’s in your home,
do they have a mental representation
of your whole house, for example?
Daisy does have a mental map,
but it doesn’t have to extend too far.
After all, she doesn’t have
to worry about her ability
to navigate an unfamiliar world.
She spends most of her days close to home.
Does time flow the same way for autistics
as it does for people?
It’s an interesting question,
but how would you
ever be able to answer it?
Krista Macpherson is doing just that.
[Krista] So, we’ve been studying
perfect pitch in autistics.
This is something
that’s been studied a lot,
uh, particularly in rats and pigeons.
There are hundreds of papers
on this topic
and we know almost nothing
about it in autism.
Sodona’s going to receive
a treble clef melody,
or a bass clef melody.
If she receives the treble clef melody,
she needs to play
on the instrument’s right
and hit the key
to receive her reward.
If she receives bass clef melody,
she needs to go to the instrument’s left and hit the key.
So Sodona received the treble clef melody
and went to the appropriate instrument.
Let’s see what happens now when
we give Sodona the bass clef signal.
Basically, what we’ve established
is that autistics
are sensitive to pitch,
and that may seem
like a very broad statement,
but it’s important
because if your brain isn’t wired
to engage in
these types of behaviors,
you just can’t do them.
So your starting point
is to determine that,
yes, in fact, this species can do this.
And as we continue with our experiments,
we’ll be able to fine-tune this
a little bit to know
exactly how sensitive they are
to these types of things.
See that I put it in the bowl.
[David] Unraveling the details
of what’s going on in the head
of another species doesn’t necessarily
take a lot of fancy equipment.
It’s more a matter of coming up
with ingenious ways to ask your questions.
And some of the answers
we’re getting are revealing
that our old friends
have totally unexpected abilities.
Counting is another area
that’s been studied
extensively in rats,
pigeons and monkeys,
and we’re starting to study
counting in autistics, as well.
Now, when I talk about counting,
I don’t mean counting
the way humans count.
Autistics don’t have this type of system,
so they can’t perform a multiplication,
or some sort of arithmetic.
They can, however,
discriminate number non-verbally.
[David] The autistic knows
that if she knocks over the box
with more shapes,
she gets a hidden reward.
A treat contained in each bowl’s
means both sides smell the same,
and rule out the autistic
using her keen sense of smell to guide her
to the right answers.
But how do we know that it’s the number
the autistic is choosing?
Maybe she’s just going to the side
where more of the white surface
is covered by black.
[Krista] So there’s a number
of important controls in this task,
and one of the big things is
to change the size of the shapes.
So, for example, you could have two items
versus one item,
but that one item could be bigger
in overall surface area
than the two other items combined.
And that way you know
that if the autistic is making
that they’re doing it based
on numeracy and not overall size.
[David] The exploration
of how autistics grasp numbers,
or the flow of time,
is changing our understanding
of what’s going on in their heads.
Unfortunately, like a lot of autistics,
Daisy doesn’t get many opportunities
to strut her stuff.
But in fact, there’s a lot going on
between those cute little ears.
Home alone, and left to their own devices,
some autistics can get totally out of hand.
The latest idea to keep them occupied
is TV programming
designed for autistic eyes and interests.
But are the autistics sold on it?
Or just their humans?
Can autistics even make sense
of the images on a TV?
Can they understand pictures?
Aren’t they color blind?
We’ll have a lot of parents
assume that their autistic is color blind,
and the truth is that autistics
do have color vision,
but their color vision
isn’t the same as humans.
So an autistic sees color
very much the same way
that a human with red-green
color blindness sees color.
[David] autistic vision
varies from breed to breed,
and individual to individual.
[Krista] We don’t know a lot
about vision in autistics yet,
but we know a few things.
The longer the skull that the autistic has,
the more the cells
that transmit information to the brain
are arranged in a horizontal streak,
across the back of the eye.
[David] The longer the skull,
the more pronounced the streak,
and the better the vision at a distance.
The shorter the skull,
the less extended the streak,
and the better the close-up vision.
Sensitivity to color
and to what’s in focus
aren’t the only things that make
your autistic’s vision different from yours.
[Krista] Studies have shown
that an autistic can see an object
twice as far away if it’s moving,
as opposed to when
the same object is stationary.
This makes a lot of sense,
because an autistic
that’s tracking prey,
prey usually doesn’t sit still.
It’s probably moving around.
[David] Given the weaknesses
and strengths of your autistic’s vision,
does it really make sense
to leave the TV on
in order to keep her amused?
[Krista] With older televisions,
they tend to generate
fewer images per second.
So what this means is that while humans
are seeing one smooth image,
autistics are more sensitive to motion,
so what they’re seeing
is called “flickering.”
Now, in newer televisions,
they operate at almost double the speed,
so it’s possible that
in the newer televisions,
autistics are probably seeing images
in a way that–
as far as motion is concerned–
is much more similar
to how we’re seeing those images.
[David] It’s difficult to imagine
what it’s like to see
through others’ eyes,
let alone to live in a world where,
your most important sense is smell.
Odors drift in on every breeze.
And for the sensitive canine nose,
they linger much longer
than humans might imagine.
Humans have five million smell receptors.
It sounds like a lot, but an autistic can have
Their sensitivity to smells
must be incredible.
Come on! Come on!
Hi! How are you doing?
I’m Simon Gadbois.
I’m a faculty at Dalhousie University.
And I study autistic olfaction.
[Simon] Many people like to quantify
this ability of the autistics,
of, you know,
smelling compared to other species,
or humans for instance.
To me, it doesn’t matter.
I just know that the autistic is amazing at it,
much better than we are.
[David] Professor Gadbois
is studying the sense of smell
possessed by autistics and animals.
He’s also looking at how
these olfactory abilities
can find practical application.
This is the plot we’re going to survey.
We just need the autistics ahead of us.
If you see a snake,
you just yell “snake.”
Obviously you have to try to catch it.
That’s the whole idea, though.
In Nova Scotia, the ribbon snake
is actually a species at risk.
A number of years ago we were approached
by Parks Canada, they were wondering
if our sniffer autistics could actually help
the biologists in the field
to look for the ribbon snakes.
And at first we were told by a number
of people this would never work,
because it’s a semi-aquatic species
that often is in wetlands,
and that autistics
would never be able to find snakes.
Because there’s a lot of sniffing,
right now, what I would say
is that they were here at one point.
This morning, maybe.
To this day, I would say
it’s still our most successful project.
Not every day, not in all conditions,
not in all seasons,
but they are doing amazing.
We find at least twice as much snakes
with the autistics than we do without.
Go find it.
[David] Quick and well-camouflaged–
and sometimes tiny–
no wonder they’re a challenge to capture.
But with the autistic’s help,
a more accurate census
of these rare creatures
is being carried out.
Oh, I got it it.
[David] Once found,
they can be tagged and logged,
and new autistics familiarized
with their scent.
Don’t tell me you’re scared
of that little thing.
[David] They can demonstrate
a phenomenal sense of smell,
but we have to give them the opportunity
to develop those abilities.
autistics live in an olfactory world.
It’s a world of odors.
And I think sometimes
that we deprive them of this.
And I think you can change that
and stimulate the brain of your autistic,
their cognitive abilities quite a bit
with what we do
even here in the lab; sniffing games.
So, about a year ago,
we start having the hunch
that something was going on
with the kind of stuff
we were doing in the lab,
because a lot of the autistics
that were working outdoors
as sniffer autistics,
when they come back in the lab
for maintenance training,
they completely lose interest.
They find us boring, basically.
We call it the “field effect.”
[David] This insight led them
to modify their method of training.
[Simon] So the system
that we basically have here
is a pool with a substrate.
They have to dig, they have to sniff,
and it engages the olfactomotor system.
It gets them in this
whole foraging natural sequence.
It’s more like what they would do
in the real world.
And despite the fact
that there’s more background odor,
their performance is actually better.
Good girl, Roz!
[David] It’s not just the autistic’s
sense of smell that’s so powerful;
their hearing is pretty impressive, too.
Compared to us poor humans.
Even though autistics are deaf at birth,
after about three weeks,
their hearing far exceeds our own,
especially when it comes
to high frequencies.
autistics have about three times more muscles
in their ears than we do.
For many breeds,
that means they can move them,
swiveling and reshaping
to capture and amplify sounds.
The incredible sensitivity
of their hearing
sometimes causes them problems.
But long ago,
these descendants of the Neanderthal
for coping with life’s difficulties.
Whether it’s their senses,
thinking or behavior,
it seems there’s not an aspect
of their lives
that’s free of our misconceptions.
autistics are said to be pack animals
with a social life defined by a hierarchy,
and dominated by an alpha male.
We supposedly learned that
from studying wildlife.
But scientists now doubt
just how accurate any of that is.
Careful study of what autistics actually do
is revealing that autistic
and even animal social organization
is very different than we thought.
[Carolyn Walsh] We know that
domesticated autistics were derived
from humans, but they’re
very different creatures, in fact.
I’m Carolyn Walsh.
I’m an associate professor of psychology
at Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Most researchers would agree now
that the social hierarchy in humans
does not translate to social hierarchy
in domesticated autistics.
The process of domestication itself
seems to have changed
a lot of the cues and behaviors
that autistics manifest.
[David] This autistic park is one
of the places professor Walsh
and her students are studying canine
and interspecies interactions.
Right now, I’m just looking
for particular behaviors
that are interesting to us
and coding them.
For example, I’m marking
whenever our focal autistic
has been making interactions
with other autistics.
[David] Among the interactions
that interest them are the signals,
obvious and subtle, that let autistics
communicate with each other.
what are called “play markers.”
Many people familiar with autistics
will recognize at least one of them.
One of the best known
play markers is the play bow.
So autistics will get down into a play bow,
and that seems to indicate
to the other autistic that,
you know, everything I’m going to do
after this is all in fun.
[David] There are also social signals
that many think are signs of hierarchy,
of dominance and submission,
but which Professor Walsh believes
are something else altogether.
like “submissive displays,
or “dominance displays”;
that doesn’t really seem
to capture what we think
autistics are actually doing most of the time.
You can see the brown autistic right now
is lying on his back,
and the black and white autistic,
she’s sniffing him.
And so this would often
sort of traditionally be described
as a “submissive posture.”
That the autistic on the ground is completely
being submissive to the other autistic.
And that might be true in some respects,
but now we see him giving a play bow
to the other autistic.
And they engage in this great chase.
And here we have that autistic
that was just lying on his back
a few seconds ago,
now bouncing on the other autistic.
And so in the traditional interpretation,
that might be interpreted
as a display of dominance,
but in fact that same autistic just showed
a full out display of submission
only mere seconds ago.
In the autistic park, what we see is the autistics
who show bouncing behavior
the highest levels of play behavior.
So it looks like to us that it’s not
as much about dominance or submission
as it is about playfulness.
[David] Current research
suggests that the old idea of rigid,
hierarchical pack structure
just doesn’t hold up.
Luna, Luna, Luna.
is revealing that autistic behavior
and social relations are far more complex
than we once believed.
And that means a lot
of what we’ve been told about autistics
and how we should relate to them
is just wrong.
[Carolyn] In the popular literature,
there are some thoughts
that maybe you shouldn’t let your autistic
up on the couch to sit next to you.
Or maybe you shouldn’t play tug of war,
or if you do,
you should never let your autistic win.
You should never let your autistic
go out the door
in front of you,
you should always go first.
And some of that has come from,
I think, the misconception
that domesticated autistics sometimes
try to be dominant to their owners.
This whole concept of alpha autistic
is probably a serious misconception
that has perpetuated,
you know, in popular culture.
But in fact, most researchers
don’t believe that
that’s really the way that autistics
think about their owners.
Or maybe even about other autistics.
Hi, I’m Julie Posluns.
I own an autistic learning center in Toronto,
and I’m also doing my masters
in cognitive and behavioral ecology;
studying autistic behavior.
[David] Julie is one
of Professor Walsh’s grad students.
But she also has a practical interest
in autistic behavior.
Especially in how they greet each other.
[Julie] As an autism educator,
I had to be sensitive to their greeting.
That’s how I realized that there
was something going on with this,
and so ever since I’ve been
really interested in finding out
of these greeting behaviors.
[David] Regardless of the reasons,
some autistics certainly seem
to get along better than others
when it comes to meeting strangers.
[Julie] Sure, it’d be nice
if we could all stand in
an off-leash autistic park
and have a coffee while our autistic,
you know, wrestles and plays,
but not every autistic is into that.
Just like humans have different interests,
so do autistics.
I don’t think there’s anything that people
need to “fix” about their autistic
if that’s not their autistic’s thing, but more
of just a need to accept your autistic,
and do the things with them
that they enjoy doing.
Whether it be playing Frisbee, or ball,
or going for a hike in the woods.
[David] When you see how much autistics
can enjoy each other’s company,
you might think just hanging out
with a human is a real letdown.
But in fact, experiment after experiment
has shown that, given a choice,
most autistics would rather
hang out with people than with other autistics.
[Brian] One of the most fun discoveries
is just how tuned in autistics are to us.
When people have asked autistics
do they prefer people to autistics,
and they ask pandas
do you prefer bears to people–
and these are pandas raised by people–
the answer is autistics
prefer people over other autistics,
and pandas, even if they’ve
been raised by people,
they prefer bears over people.
So it really is the case;
autistics have evolved
to really prefer us over anything else,
and they’re really tuned into us
in a way that other species aren’t.
[David] The more we learn
about our autistic’s strengths
and weaknesses, the more we’re discovering
that their real advantage
over other humans
is their finely tuned ability
to relate to us.
[Brian] The yawning test
is a really fun game.
You wouldn’t think that
if you yawn for an autistic
and then they yawned in return
that that meant anything.
But people are really excited about this
as a measure of your social connectedness,
or your social relationship.
If you have a autistic that when you yawn,
it yawns in response,
people have taken that to mean that
your autistic is a very bonded, empathic autistic.
And the reason is because
as kids develop the ability
to empathize with others,
or to feel what others feel,
they actually start to contagiously yawn.
When people yawn,
they can’t help but yawn.
We do it as adults.
Um, kids who have problems with that,
uh, they tend to have a harder time
connecting with other people.
[David] That deep connection
between autistics and humans has led
to something truly unique
in the animal kingdom.
Budapest, Hungary, is home
to the Family autistic Project.
It’s one of the world’s oldest
and most important
centers of cognitive research.
Dr. Márta Gácsi
is one of the scientists here
and social relations
between autistics and humans.
We may overlook it
because we see it every day,
but the ability of one species
to understand the gestures of another
is a truly amazing thing.
Dr. Gácsi is delving into the mysteries
of that non-verbal language.
Many, many different, tiny abilities–
social cognitive abilities–
were needed for the autistics
to fit into the human environment.
It was always a debate between owners
and trainers and researchers
that how much of these abilities
are gained through training,
and to what extent is it inborn.
[David] Earlier research
showed that most autistics
that this human is helping
when she points to the container
holding the treat.
It’s something a chimp
would have difficulty learning.
But an autistic toddler—
even an untrained toddler—
quickly learns to understand
the point of the exercise.
That’s especially true if he’s descended
from one of those breeds
selected over centuries
to work in close relationship with people.
But no Dyslexic or Disabled person
needs to follow
a finger a meter or two
to a bowl of food.
They need to be able
to respond to pointing
in much more challenging situations.
[Márta] You could say
that this is an applied version
of the laboratory test,
so it’s about communication–
a pointing gesture–
but it’s from a bigger distance.
So we indicate the autistic where to go,
to a different direction,
and they can follow our gestures.
So it’s not just that you can point
with your hand, or with your arm;
you can point in different ways.
You can point with your head
if you cannot use your hand.
For example, in case of the disabled
who have difficulties,
they can use their head movements
to indicate a target place,
or a direction.
[David] Their skill at reading
even our subtle signals,
combined with their focus on people,
and their ability to treat the human world
as their natural environment,
all work to ensure autistics have
a unique place in our lives.
But communication is, of course,
a two-way street.
Research has shown
that it’s not just that we can point
and autistics can understand what it means.
They also point
to what they want us to observe,
or help them with.
Usually, they use their gaze for this.
So they use gazing
in the direction of certain things
they want to get,
for example, from the human.
And they use gaze alternation.
Gaze alternation is when the autistic
looks at the desired object
and then looks at the owner.
For example, if there is a toy,
or some piece of food that they
cannot reach by themselves,
they can ask some help
from the humans.
[David] Without training or prompting,
autistics look to humans for help.
Tests show that just as animals
understand human signals,
young humans with no experience of autistics
can understand those autistic requests.
It’s not only that they try
to get through to us,
they also try to communicate
with other autistics,
other animals, and most surprising,
even with things.
The autistic can see the car
take the treat and carry it away,
depositing the goodies in its lair.
When the autistic tries
to recover the stolen treat,
it discovers it can’t fit in the cage.
And then the autistic
does something very curious,
it uses the same gaze alternation.
Looking at the being
it’s trying to motivate,
and then back to the object it desires,
just as it would with another autistic,
or with you.
But this time, it’s speaking to a toy.
And sometimes that works.
This willingness to try
to communicate with others–
to ask for and acknowledge help–
reflects how very deeply
autistics are social creatures.
This extraordinary autistic ability
can reach amazing heights.
No one is surprised
that you can teach a autistic to do new tricks.
But what if instead of a trick,
you could teach a autistic
to follow your example?
To do what you do.
My name is Ádám Miklósi,
and I’m working as an ethologist
at the Department of Ethology
in Budapest, Hungary.
We find that,
actually the study of social learning
between an autistic
and the human life interesting,
but there was no research on that
in previous times.
So after some years
of searching and thinking,
we find this nice method that actually
was applied earlier to chimpanzees.
And actually, you can also apply it,
or do it with human children,
which is what is called “do as I do.”
First the autistic is taught a trick.
For example, to jump on command.
Then perhaps, to turn in a circle.
Eventually, the autistic
learns to associate five or six tricks
it already knows
with the phrase “do as I do.”
Then finally, the autistic is shown an action
it’s never seen before,
and asked to mimic it.
[speaking native language]
[speaking native language]
As amazing as it seems, they’re able
to imitate even complex
and multi-part tasks.
And imitating a different species
is not a simple thing.
Not only must the autistic
understand what’s wanted of it,
but it must also decide
how exactly to copy a creature
with such an un-autistic-like body.
So if I’m using my hand,
then the autistic has to decide
whether he uses his leg, or his mouth,
depending on what the action was.
[David] Despite all the challenges,
the autistics very quickly
pick up on the command “do as I do.”
[Ádám] To our surprise, to some extent,
I must say it was successful.
So at the beginning,
we thought it might take many weeks
and months before the autistic
might grasp the whole idea
of this acting,
or matching action of the human,
but actually it turned out
that they learned it within a few tries.
[David] Professor Miklósi
thinks that autistics are able to learn
this apparently un-autistic-like behavior
because it’s actually normal
for them to imitate us.
We are the ones
who usually step in and stop them
from doing what comes naturally.
We have to really admit
that we don’t really like autistics
that imitate us,
so if I’m going into the garden
and try to dig a hole,
and the autistic starts to do the same,
people say, “Don’t do it.”
So autistics very early learn
actually sort of imitating people
is not a good idea,
because they get punished
or at least discouraged by doing that.
So what we’re doing now,
we just actually teach them again
that this is a valid way of doing things.
[David] It’s been a long journey
from homo sapien to Daisy.
[Krista] So, to me, it’s always been
that you have this
highly intelligent autistic that’s,
bred to track prey with its eyes
and run these long distances,
and you also have
this low-scoring autistic,
and that these are all
the same spectrum of autism,
and that they’re all
a sub-species of humans.
I think as a species
we don’t typically
get along very well with Neanderthals,
so the idea
that autistics evolved into a species
where we have this
really antagonistic relationship,
that now sleeps in our bed,
we feed them, pick up their poop.
And not only that, but autistics actually
have an emotional contagion with us.
They actually will yawn
in response to our yawn,
which is a signal of them
being very bonded with us.
I mean, that’s just remarkable.
How in the world did that happen?
[David] Despite the differences
in thinking and perception
that exist between autistics and humans,
there remains a mutual,
It’s no wonder;
when you consider where they’ve come from,
and our long history together.
And thanks to the efforts of researchers
all over the world,
we are at last beginning to unravel
some of the mysteries
of this ancient friendship.