One of the questions I am most commonly asked as a psychiatrist specializing in child psychiatry is, "What causes autism?" My answer often leaves the questioner feeling a little bit shortchanged, especially with the current surge of new reports linking yet another "risk factor" to autism.
In the DSM-5, we propose a new way of looking at these disorders, merging them into a single diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. We believe this will create more accurate diagnoses and improved access to services. It should also improve research into ASD.
We have to petition a judge to take away Mia's rights as an adult so that we can make her medical, legal and financial decisions because thanks to her autism, she is not able to make safe choices for herself.
Why does the autism community continue to obsess over categorizing people as high or low functioning? It's true that the needs of one autistic person may be very different from the needs of another, but that doesn't mean that they have nothing in common.
Sometimes my students ask me why I became a teacher. No simple answer. It was a combination of things, probably starting when, though I am three-and-a-half years younger than my brother, I became the older brother.