Feet on the Autism Spectrum

An observation in body language and social norms

feet of autism main 615.jpg.jpg
Cary Terra, Aspie Strategy

Psychotherapist Cary Terra works with adults with autism spectrum disorder -- the soon-to-be-official all-encompassing diagnostic term for that we currently distinguish as autism, Asperger's, and childhood disintegrative disorder. Over many years, she's noticed what she calls an "unmistakable trend": that her patients have a tendency to sit with their feet stacked. "Not all of them, mind you, just many more than I had ever seen when working with varied populations." Lately when she notices a patient sitting this way, she'll ask if she can take a photo. She has almost 50, a few of which she kindly let us publish here.

Terra is clear to note that this should be taken for what it is, one clinician's observations, not to be used as a diagnostic tool. But it's an interesting reminder that our awareness and understanding of the subtler behavioral associations and manifestations of autism spectrum disorder are continually growing. Cut everybody as much slack as you possibly can.

Presented by

James Hamblin, MD, is a senior editor at The Atlantic. He writes the health column for the monthly magazine and hosts the video series If Our Bodies Could Talk.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Photos of New York City, in Motion

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open For 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

Video

What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.

More in Health

Just In