Autism war rages: Is it a medical condition or ‘neurodiversity’?

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Brandan Doyle, a father with autism, and his children. Image: Evan Cobb/Daily
[There is] a deep divide in the autism community: On one side are parents of autistic children with severe traits — including intellectual disability, limited language ability and self-harm — who say autism is a medical condition that needs often-intense treatment.

On the other side are supporters of “neurodiversity,” who maintain that the condition represents a neurological difference and a disability — one that society should accept and accommodate rather than try to prevent or cure.

“I see many positives in the neurodiversity movement, including fighting for what parents of autistic children want: to get society’s acceptance of them and to get accommodations for them,” says Manuel Casanova, professor of biomedical sciences at the University of South Carolina. But the loudest voices in the neurodiversity camp are causing an “upheaval” by insisting on a strict interpretation of autism and what autistic people need, he says.

Related article:  Gender bias: Are we overlooking autism in women and girls?

Any kind of truce in the autism wars will probably require both sides to take a perspective that encompasses all of the spectrum — where the fight is for the happiness and well-being of all autistic people rather than over who is right.

Read full, original post: A medical condition or just a difference? The question roils autism community.

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