Whenever I hear or read of autism described as a disease, I feel uncomfortable. Surely "disease" isn't the right term to describe such a huge range of differences, challenges, symptoms and behaviors? Not only does the word "disease" make me think of the flu (about as different from autism as it could be!) but it is also a synonym for "illness." And there has been far too much conflation of autism and severe mental disorders which can cause hallucinations and delusions.
But then again, maybe autism is a disease. At least, there are good arguments to support that point of view.
In this article I look at both sides of the question -- Is Autism a Disease?
Children with autism are cared for by their parents, who have done a great job of developing support groups and organizations around their particular needs and concerns. But what about people with autism themselves? In recent years, many adults on the autism spectrum, with or without the help of other members of the autism community, have created their own support organizations. Find out more about what autism self-advocacy groups are all about. Might one be right for you or someone in your life?
More Resources for Adults with Autism
Is autism defined as an "incurable" disorder? How about all those stories of children "recovering" as a result of various therapies and medications? In this article, I explore the most recent discussion of a "cure" for autism, and the definition of a cure as described by one of the developers of the most recent criteria for describing autism.
Autism isn't the sort of biological disease you can "catch" -- but that doesn't mean it's impossible to acquire autism. Find out more about just how autism experts think about the known causes of autism.
More About Causes of Autism