BAPCO: A new theory explains why autism numbers are growing

A unifying explanation of the cause of autism and the reason for its rising prevalence has eluded scientists for decades, but a theoretical model published in the journal Medical Hypotheses describes the cause as a combination of socially valued traits, common in autism, and any number of co-occurring disabilities.

“The [The Broader Autism Phenotype Constellation-Disability Matrix Paradigm or] BAPCO-DMAP theory describes how people are attracted to other people who are very similar. They are attracted to certain traits that are very common in the population, and this leads to offspring who are more likely to have certain traits, as well as a greater intensity of traits.” [T.A. Meridan] McDonald said.

“The (BAPCO) traits are not what people expect. They expect the traits to be about challenges or difficulties, but instead there are six main traits — increased attention, increased memory, a preference for the object world vs. the social world and their environment, increased nonconformity, increased differences in sensory and perception, as well as systemizing.”

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“What we call ‘autism’ is the BAPCO personality combined with a disability or very intense BAPCO traits,” she said. “Because the BAPCO is made of socially valued traits, it is not possible to cure autism. Instead, we need to focus on the full range of disabilities that affect people with and without the BAPCO personality.”

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