Autism is often in the news, most recently with high-profile coverage of Andrew Wakefield, whose research linking the onset of autism to the common childhood measles vaccination was debunked not so long ago. The New York Times Magazine ran a profile of Wakefield’s story (link above) in April 2011, and no matter where you find yourself in the discussion, Wakefield’s “crash and burn” is an interesting tale that got me searching online the other day for related articles.
One of the most interesting ran in the New York Times about three years ago and centered on the burgeoning autism rights movement. Activists in this movement, many of whom are parents of and adults with autism or the related Asperger’s syndrome, argue that these conditions are not illnesses so much as an alternate way of being. The term neodiversity (which comes out of the movement) captures this philosophy in suggesting that each human is neurologically different. From this POV, autism and Asperger’s are examples of neurological difference.
The article goes on to explore theories of human personality and offers fascinating interviews with a range of people in the movement. And for basic medical information on autism and Asperger’s, I took another look at our TFCB/USA TODAY Health Reports title on autism and Asperger’s (cover above). By chance, our book was featured with a great review just yesterday as part of Nonfiction Monday on Wrapped in Foil. Congratulations to Ana Maria Rodriguez, author of the book!
Check in next week for more from TFCB!