Monday, 13 October 2014

Citizen Article on "Overdiagnosed" Autism

I won't pretend to be unbiased in this case.  This article made me furious.

The article speaks to Enrico Gnaulati, author of "Back to Normal: Why Ordinary Childhood Behavior is Mistaken for ADHD, Bipolar Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder".  This self-righteous crusader (who does not appear to have any experience working with children with autism, ADHD or bipolar disorder) claims that parents and doctors are just too anxious and pathologizing normal kids.

Well, Dr. Gnaulati, I call bullshit on your theory.

He claims that 30 % of children diagnosed with autism will no longer qualify for diagnosis in later life.  I couldn't find the North Carolina study he claims to cite (mainly because North Carolina is currently involved in hundreds of autism research studies).  The only time I've seen "recovery" numbers that high is when all the children involved were undergoing intensive early intervention.

I've been the parent wondering if my child's behaviour was typical and being dismissed as over-anxious.  Even after Alex was diagnosed, my family doctor (who had refused to refer us for testing) told us that he "didn't believe in autism as a diagnosis because North American parents are just too uptight."

Like the anti-vaxxer crusade, this is ideology masked as science which has the potential to harm a large number of families.  No parent wants to believe their child has autism.  A parent reading this might decide to wait and see if their child "grows out of it" rather than seeking help.  And if that child does have autism, then the best years to help them will be gone.

I assume if you're reading my blog, that I'm somewhat preaching to the choir, but please, encourage people to have proper professional evaluations rather than hoping it will go away if they ignore it.

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