START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
2,265,753 people care about Health Policy

Autism is “Fashionable”?

  • 2 of 2

Measuring “increased understanding and knowledge of autism” is indeed not something that one can do and the “better diagnosis” theory is roundly disputed by proponents of theories of environmental agents as causing autism. Allen’s criticism of this theory differs though: He seems rather to mock those wishful thinkers who have, later in life, sought an autism diagnosis. Either you’re severely autistic, or you’re just a label-seeker.

Our son Charlie can be said to fall under the latter category, as his speech and academic and cognitive abilities are very limited, he will require 24/7 care for all of his life and has a history of sometimes extremely challenging behaviors that have made schooling in a separate center for autistic children necessary and preferable. However, Allen overlooks the fact that just being able to have more academic and communication abilities, to have a normal IQ, to go to college and even be married, does not mean that one does not have extreme challenges that can limit one’s opportunities and have effects on one’s health, income and many other areas.

Allen’s limiting an autism diagnosis to  only a few who are severe according to his definition is dismissive and overlooks the fact that many do need support and understanding about their differences. He bases his claims on an assumption that, “back in the days” when autism was rare, we — well, doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists — knew precisely what autism was, diagnosed it accurately and did not miss any cases. Has he forgotten that “back in the days” many believed that the cause of autism was parents? That people would hardly seek out a diagnosis for their child that carried such a huge stigma? That an autism diagnosis was the equivalent of having a scarlet A on your forehead, as parents were blamed for causing autism by emotionally withdrawing from a child? That one reason for the increase in autism diagnoses is that we as a society have become more accepting of and open about having a child with a disability?

That, in other words, it might really be better that autism has become so “popular.” At least children and others who need help and support have the chance of getting these rather than suffering due to some unknown, unnamed condition.

Related Care2 Coverage

$450 Billion: What Family Caregivers of Elderly, Disabled Would Earn

What Happened to Ayn Could Happen to Any Autistic Child

New Autism Studies Question Emphasis on Genetic Causes

  • 2 of 2

Read more: , , , , , , ,

Photo by richardmasoner

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it


+ add your own
7:57PM PST on Dec 13, 2011

Claire Sainsbury is that you? Martian on the Playground!

7:56PM PST on Dec 13, 2011

A professor said the same thing, that a counselor gave me the diagnosis to give me some extra help....

Try computer programming. Ya'll need a good occupational therapist. I can work for hours on computer coding in CF9.

7:54PM PST on Dec 13, 2011

Timothy m would you prefer giving all us autistics a good dose of Zyklon B? It would save your tax dollars like it saved Nazi Germany's.

Ask an Asperger's mom how fashionable it is having a child that tests her limits, especially if her husband is not on board helping. My dad was too busy working to help my mom....

9:06PM PST on Dec 12, 2011

I think that there is a current of fad-ism of autistic diagnosis. I think that one driving force that is not being discussed, is the question of the "tyranny of the mythical normal."

6:01AM PST on Dec 12, 2011

Society has become less tolerant of the most trivial and harmless eccentricities, ever more demanding that we all conform to ever more narrow cultural standards that are downright offensive to freethinking people. Often, autistic people who by their nature are candid, fail to flatter and to join a world around them that demands that we all apply bicycle tire pumps to the self-esteem of the latest rock star from American Idol. They accidentally offend society and society says, "You are sick" because you are not passionte about sports like everybody else or you don't think and live the way society wants you to think and to live. When you can't compete in the Miss America Pageant ritual of the job interview and every door is slammed in your face you give up and say, "You win, I'm too sick and disabled to conform to your culture and to like what you demand that I like and to feel what you demand that I feel. Put me on some kind of disability pogram that will even the odds in your competitive society." If this is immoral because society thinks it is entitled to discriminate en masse against every trivial and harmless eccentricity, why is it not immoral to make money by such things as junk food, the lottery, and liquor stores?

7:06PM PDT on Jul 27, 2011

It's not only vaccinations, Children - and adults- everywhere are being increasingly exposed to hundreds of chemicals - including pesticides, cleaning materials, fragrance chemicals, plasticizers and more. Many of these cause endocrine disruption and neurological effects - so it is not surprising at all that autism has grown. For more info on this and other concerns, see:

2:36PM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

What makes anyone think autism is a fashionable diagnosis? I was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder before it even became a household term. Don't insult my intelligence by saying it is "just a fashionable diagnosis".

10:49AM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

In many cases to get services or to get insurance to pay for certain things, there has to be a diagnosis of something. Look at all of the created disorders like Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Many of these are so that people can get money to be treated for something else. I am not trying to discredit the psychology discipline as I also have a degree in psychology, but I am just stating my opinion. I think a lot has to do with our "fix-it-now" culture in which we have a drug for everything. I would believe in many cases that there are external substances that may cause or even increase the chance of autism, ADHD, etc. One also has to look at the diet of the parents and determine how much the preservatives and high sugar content of our foods contributes to certain conditions and diseases. Though diagnosis has increased tremendously, other factors have also increased tremendously.

8:09AM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

Wow. I am really surprised to see all the comments saying that kids without autism spectrum disorders are being given the label out of convenience or status of some kind. I had to pay $2200 three years ago to have my son submitted to a battery of tests which determined not only Aspergers (an autism spectrum disorder according to DSM-IV) but also dyslexia and some other learning disabilities. I fought for an assessment so the school would finally consider supporting my son - he's struggled since kindergarten, even though he is very bright and has average to high grades, and still bears considerable anxiety everywhere except at home. But maybe he's not disabled enough for Allen and many other commenters.

10:11PM PDT on Jul 22, 2011

Autism may not be fashionable, but it's clearly the cause du jour nowadays. Lots of shrinks and special schools and others are making a boatload of money off the exponential increase in autism diagnoses -- most of it my tax dollars.

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free

Recent Comments from Causes

No Mitch D. That is the old school of breaking horses.and seldom practiced today. today the are trained…

Bastards. Let them kill each other not majestic animals who have not harmed them.

Cronyism is prevalent in both parties, far more with the party of drunken spending. It’s easy…

meet our writers

Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches and writes about ancient Greek and Latin and is Online Advocacy and Marketing... more
ads keep care2 free

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!