Autism Spectrum Disorder

Often Twice Exceptional


There is no single cause identified that directly affects ASD but data suggests that autism results from different sets of causal factors that manifest in characteristic behavioral symptoms. Such factors are genetic, neurobiological, and environmental.


ASD is usually diagnosed around ages of 2-3 when presented with symptoms like poor eye contact, no response to sounds, voices or name, unusual attachment to an object, and not sharing interests. In some cases, children present neuro-typically for the first few years before they begin displaying delays and a loss of previously gained skills. For example, a child may develop some language or meaningful gestures such as pointing as expected, but then lose those skills.


ASD is a complex developmental condition that differs from person to person in severity and combinations of characteristics. Specific characteristics can range from mild to severe and may also change overtime. Characteristics must be present in the early developmental period but may not become fully manifest until later age or may be masked by learned strategies in later years.


According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 percent of the world population has ASD as well as an estimated 1 in 59 children in the U.S. ASD is three to four times more commonly diagnosed in boys than girls.

1 %

of the world population is estimated to have ASD

Download ASD Summary


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that involves challenges in social interaction, communication, and behavior. The signs, possible effects, and severity of ASD are different in every person.

  • Problems with genetic code development involving multiple brain regions.
  • Increased gray matter in the frontal and temporal lobes
  • Decreased white matter compared with gray matter by adolescence
  • Decreased neural sensitivity to dynamic gaze shifts in infancy
  • processing and hemispheric asymmetries in event-related potentials
  • Disruptions in normative patterns of social neurodevelopment that contribute to a diminished attention to social stimuli
Twice Exceptionality (2e) and ASD

Twice Exceptional” is a term used to refer to individuals with one or more disabilities presenting alongside one or more exceptional strengths. Scholars and clinicians are increasingly recognizing that students with ASD can also be cognitively and academically gifted. In fact, some broad characteristics of highly gifted children overlap with characteristics of students with ASD. For example, many individuals with ASD exhibit traits like focused interest on a topic, strong spatial awareness, and superb memory for facts and details.

COGx & Autism

Students with ASD often present with learning difficulties, most commonly challenges with attention, comprehension, reasoning, metacognition, and executive functions such as impulse control, cognitive flexibility, planning & problem-solving. They also tend to be twice exceptional, meaning they present with a significant cognitive strength along with a significant cognitive weakness. This variation in abilities can make learning frustrating, especially if they are only engaged at a level where they are struggling or at their ‘lowest common denominator.’

The COGx approach to ASD cases is to leverage the student’s strengths and interests to address their gaps or weaknesses. In addition to customized training for strengthening core cognitive skills, COGx programs aim to enhance metacognition so that students become more aware of their behaviors and learning process. Programs include both teaching and transferring evidence-based strategies that students can employ to learn more effectively and efficiently in any setting, while the in-person component of sessions provides an opportunity for students to practice their social and language skills.

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