Showing posts from October, 2014

Autism: The Truth is (not) Out There

Parents of a child affected by autism naturally want to know the cause. Autism can dramatically disrupt the typical childhood pattern of cognitive, behavioural and social development. At the most severe end, the child may require care for the rest of their lives. Even at the milder end, it may make mainstream education impossible and exclude many opportunities available to typically developing children. Any parent would hope that knowing the cause could lead to better treatment and management options for their child. Unfortunately, until very recently, it has not been possible to identify causes in individual children (with rare exceptions). Science and medicine had apparently failed to solve this mystery. (I say “had”, because, as we will see below, this is no longer true). The typical experience of children and their parents in the health system has been one of frustration, often with a long diagnostic odyssey, limited options for medical intervention and a struggl