The word autism means a lot of different things to different people. To some, it conjures an image of the socially awkward eccentric who, besotted by a narrow set of interests, eschews small-talk and large gatherings in favour of solitude. To others, it’s a profoundly life-limiting disorder that consumes every waking hour of a family’s life, a medical disability that entails unpredictable bouts of aggression resulting in torn upholstery, cracked skulls and savage bites. Severely autistic people have a life expectancy of 36 in the United States and 39.5 in Europe, while their parents and care-givers often experience PTSD and stress similar to that of combat veterans. Mildly autistic people, on the other hand, though far more prone to depression and suicide, can go on to lead productive and fulfilling lives, often blending imperceptibly into the wider population despite their idiosyncracies and social difficulties.This is correct. The term has been expanded to include the severely mentally disabled, as well as many that are well within the normal range.
Many people now self-identify as autistic as though it were a fashion label rather than a debilitating disorder
Yet a report this week claimed that the difference between people diagnosed with autism and the rest of the population is shrinking. The autism spectrum is so all-encompassing that experts are now finally starting to question the validity of the term itself. After studying the meta-analyses of autism data, Dr Laurent Mottron, a professor at Université de Montréal, concluded that: “The objective difference between people with autism and the general population will disappear in less than 10 years. The definition of autism may get too vague to be meaningful.”
The fields of psychiatry and psychology are dominated by those with an anti-masculine bias, so ordinary male traits can show up as symptoms of autism.