Saturday, February 17, 2007

Clinic Notes: Autism Myths

The sign hanging in front of my clinic building says, "The Children's' Treatment Center." And in small letters under the name, "For Autism or other Childhood Developmental Disorders." I am located in an old historic part of town where buildings build in the late 1800's have been restored; surrounded by lawyers, CPA's, and upscale retail stores. I am always asked the question by people aroung me, "What is autism?" That is a difficult question to answer and difficult for people to understand. The movie "Rain man" is the only exposure most people have had to autism until recently when autism has been in the popular media.
Part of the problem in answering this question for the general public is the lack of consensus for those of us who work in the field. Simple questions such as "Is autism increasing in children," cannot be answered to everyone's satisfaction. We are not even close to answering the question, "What causes autism."
There are so many controversies that "experts" at the 2006 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science tried to separate "fact" from myth. Unfortunately, the experts could only argue about the interpretation of the limited amount of data, often contradictory, that we do have.
(See Ped Med: Autism Myths Abound
By Lidia Wasowicz for UPI.)

1 comment:

mcewen said...

My 'limited' experience tells me that there are as many theories as there are corresponding experts to promote their 'cause.'
Best wishes