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August 2018

Reframing Optimal Outcomes in Autism

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  • 2Department of Human Development and Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles
JAMA Pediatr. 2018;172(8):716-717. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.1016

For decades, autism (or autism spectrum disorder) has been described as a neurodevelopmental disorder diagnosed in early childhood. Genetic and environmental studies provide evidence for autism’s variable causes,1 while intervention and natural history studies suggest substantial heterogeneity in clinical presentation, response to treatment, and developmental outcomes.2 More recently, autism has also been described using the framework of neurodiversity—that is, autism as an example of diversity in a wide range of brains, none of which are considered normal and all of which are different.3

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