Autistics like Baggs are now leading a nascent civil rights movement. "I remember in '99," she says, "seeing a number of gay pride Web sites. I envied how many there were and wished there was something like that for autism. Now there is." The message: We're here. We're weird. Get used to it.
This movement is being fueled by a small but growing cadre of neuropsychological researchers who are taking a fresh look at the nature of autism itself. The condition, they say, shouldn't be thought of as a disease to be eradicated. It may be that the autistic brain is not defective but simply different -- an example of the variety of human development. These researchers assert that the focus on finding a cure for autism -- the disease model -- has kept science from asking fundamental questions about how autistic brains function.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
The Truth About Autism: Scientists Reconsider What They Think They Know