Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Clinical Notes: Autism in the News
There's no doubt about it. Autism is in the news and everyone has questions whether they are directly affected by autism or not. I was waiting to see a doctor at Vanderbilt several days ago. My wife started a conversation with a woman beside her and eventually the small talk got around to what I did. When my wife said that I was a psychologist who worked with children with autism a hush fell on the room. Everyone in the room looked at me and I couldn't hide behind my magazine. Then the questions started. First, from parents and grandparents, and teachers who had been directly affected by autism, and then by the curious who had read some article in the popular press. There were specific questions about specific children and then more general questions: Is one out of every 150 children affected? Do vaccines cause it? How can it be cured? I answered all of the questions as best I could and everyone was very appreciative. And then I was called back to the doctor's ofice. I was thinking about the questions I wanted to ask the doctor about my own health when he walked in. After a brief introduction the first question out of the doctor's mouth was, "what happens to children with autism when they grow up?" Autism is in the news.