Autism is a complex disorder. Scientists, however, have searched to discover if there is an underlying, common theme to autism. And it appears at the moment that there is.
In the paper, Autism as a disorder of prediction, Palwan Sinha et al. comment that the way autism is expressed across the many, varied forms may well have impairment of predictiveness at its heart. In otters words, whereas for many previous experience is used to help make decisions along with current clues such as body language, tone of voice and current actions of others around us, Sinha proposes that those with autism lack the ability to draw on these clues essential for accurate decision-making. The world, for those with autism, is not one of order with actions based upon predictability but a 'capriciously "magical" one' (Pawan Sinha (2014).
If this hypothesis is shown to be true it does validate many people's presuppositions that those with autism require order, routine and predefined structure since such order reduces the need to predict: something those with autism disorder find so challenging.
Autism as a disorder of prediction. Published online before print October 6, 2014, doi:10.1073/pnas.1416797111