Cities that are hubs for jobs in information technology (IT) may have a higher prevalence of autism, a new study says.
The study, conducted in the Netherlands, found more children with autism living in Eindhoven, a region known for its IT sector, than in two other regions with fewer IT businesses.
The findings may apply to other IT-rich regions, including California’s Silicon Valley, said study researcher Simon Baron-Cohen, director of the Autism Research Center at the University of Cambridge in England.
The findings are in line with the “hyper-systemizing” theory of autism. This theory proposes that people with autism have a strong desire to understand the workings of systems, the researchers said. Such skills are valued in IT-related fields, including engineering, physics, computing and mathematics.