The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle carries a short essay by Aimee O'Connell, a licensed school psychologist who has an ASD child and a diagnosis of Asperger's. In this passage, she neatly disposes of the "Rain Man" stereotype:
Can most people name some of the strengths of individuals with autism, besides parlor tricks like counting cards or remembering dates? Although some individuals with autism do have pronounced talents, we're not always newsworthy.
We might remember phone numbers without writing them down, but don't usually memorize the phone book, nor do we find that particularly interesting.
We do have extraordinary emotional and sensory depth. We hear, feel, taste and experience life more intensely than the average person.
If you think persons with autism are logical, robotic and emotionless, it's true that we like to think before acting, but I should note that our emotional sincerity gets squelched early on as "abnormal," "foolish" or "over-dramatic." We learn to keep quiet when the rest of the world doesn't relate to our sensitivity.