Is the Definition of Autism Too Broad?

John Elder Robison

An answer to the psychologists who suggest it is . . .

Late at night, when I’m alone, I sometimes ponder what it means to be autistic.  Do I experience sounds and smells differently from an allistic (non autistic) person?  Scientific studies suggest I do.  If that is the case, whose perception is correct – mine, theirs, or both?  At one time, doctors assumed the allistic view of the world was the correct one, and autistic perspectives were wrong or delusional.

USA: Raising Connor

Liz Kowalczyk and Photos by Craig F. Walker

He is a boy easy to love, and also a heart-testing puzzle to those who love him. He longs for home, but home has become somewhere hard to thrive. And yet, beset by autism and other issues, aided by family and teachers, Connor Biscan is learning to rise.

This time he had to go. There was no time to think about where.

Is it Time to Give Up on a Single Diagnostic Label for Autism?

Simon Baron-Cohen

That was the ruling by the editors of the authoritative Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in 2013, but it remains controversial

Five years ago, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) established autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as an umbrella term when it published the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), the primary guide to taxonomy in psychiatry. In creating this single diagnostic category, the APA also removed the subgroup called Asperger syndrome that had been in place since 1994.

Can Intervention Change the Brain in Autism?

Katherine K.M. Stavropoulos Ph.D.

Research explores whether intervention can change the brain in autism.

I want to start with blog entry by saying Happy National Autism Awareness Month!

This month, we are going to talk about whether behavioral interventions and/or therapies for autism can change the brain. In 2017, I wrote a review paper (link is external) about this topic and wanted to discuss it here as well. There is a large amount of evidence that behavioral interventions can change behavior in autism. Most interventions focus on social behaviors with the goal of increasing social communication (such as eye contact, initiating social interactions, being responsive to social behaviors from others, following another person’s eye gaze, etc). It’s great that these interventions have been shown to improve behavior, but since the scientific community generally agrees that autism is a brain-based disorder, studies have started measuring whether these interventions can change the brain. 

A Look Inside An Autism-Friendly Workplace And Culture

Michael Bernick

"The Seasons or Orchard" tapestry by Morris & Co. 1890. William Morris in the Victorian period sought to create new forms of craft and workplace culture. William Morris Society.

Last week, I was in New York and had the opportunity morning to tour a true “autism-friendly workplace”—one that differs not only from most workplaces today but also from most workplaces that describe themselves as autism-friendly. I think you’ll be interested, whether you have a connection to autism or not.

What An Autism Spectrum Friendly Environment Can Teach Us About Good Management

    Morra Aarons-Mele

    “Why do I have to be in the office when I get more done from home?”

    As an author and speaker on the modern workplace, I hear this a lot. But let me be clear: This is not a question from someone who wants to goof off, hang with their kids, or play video games in between conference calls. That is a toxic stereotype.

    This question comes from a person who needs quiet, peace, different lighting, or time alone. Daily, their ambition clashes with misery created by sitting in a busy office environment for ten hours a day. Though they are great contributors and co-workers, they feel they can’t get their work done in their place of work, because the environment is antithetical to who they are.

    Keep the Change: actors with autism get the chance to shine in romcom


    The director and star of a new low-budget film discuss their hopes of changing the narrative of how autism is represented in media

    Brandon Polansky and Samantha Elisofon in Keep the Change. Photograph: Kino Lorber

    When Rachel Israel set out to make a feature film based on a longtime friend, who has autism, and his first serious romance, casting the lead role was easy. The only person she could imagine playing her friend, Brandon Polansky, was himself.


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