I believe monotropism describes much of the autistic disposition, but it cannot be solely responsible for the full picture. If monotropism alone was responsible for AS, it would mean autistic behaviour might be evinced whenever any individual was focused upon one thing at any given time. However, this does not seem to be the case. Frequently NTs focus their attention but do not exhibit behaviours that qualify as a diagnosis of AS. Therefore, finding an explanation of AS that fits with the clinical picture described by the diagnostic criteria (see Appendix B) and experienced by us as autistic people might have a monotropic foundation, but it needs to have other flow-on applications.

This is why the ideas associated with traditional theories of AS are being questioned in this book and the newly developed theory of AS concerning the concepts associated with the use of single attention and associated cognition in autism (SAACA) are suggested. SAACA is argued to be responsible for the pattern of characteristics seen in AS and experienced by us as the AS population. SAACA, which was developed from the idea of monotropism, explains the autistic learning style unlike any other. Current traditional theories of AS have too many gaps and fail to accommodate the clinical picture seen in AS. Within this new approach a particular learning style is said to be responsible for the current criteria for an AS assessment and the AS individual’s experience.

SAACA suggests the autism spectrum should be considered not as a terrible tragedy that needs to be cured or redeemed, but as an important learning style. As we will see in later chapters SAACA provides ways to accommodate, work with and develop an individual’s fullest potential.

Source: The Passionate Mind: How People with Autism Learn