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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 62
Gender: Male
Posts: 21,288
Location: Long Island, New York

24 Dec 2017, 1:14 am

I have stated my opinion of the overdiagnosis controversy numerous times. I found it a little weird seeing the debate we have on wrong planet plying out in the

The Autism Diagnosis

Question: In the school district where I used to teach, I attended many meetings concerning children with special needs. Many of the kids in question were said to be "on the [autism] spectrum." In fifteen years I witnessed the number of supposedly autistic children go from practically zero to enough to fill a special education class at almost every one of our 30-plus schools. A good number of these children were eventually mainstreamed into my class, and I felt then and even more strongly now that they were wrongly diagnosed. I can only think of two kids who in my estimation were classically autistic. Will you please clarify the difference between a legitimate autism diagnosis and one involving the so-called “spectrum”?

John Rosmond wrote:
Answer: By risking an answer your excellent question, I’m likely to make a lot of people upset with me, but I long stopped worrying about that, so here goes:

Having done a good amount of reading on this issue over the past few years, I fail to see the usefulness, much less the validity, of saying that certain children, while not classically autistic, nonetheless qualify as “sort of” autistic – other than its usefulness as an income-generator for mental health professionals and public schools, that is. By the same standard, it could be argued that lots of functional, responsible but slightly odd folks are on the “schizophrenic spectrum.”

Following the usual trend, the diagnostic parameters of autism have expanded over the past thirty years.

I do believe in classical autism of the sort portrayed by Dustin Hoffman in the movie “Rain Man.” In my estimation, however, the classical version is not a mental disorder. It does not belong in the DSM. For one thing, the symptoms – including unresponsiveness to parental affection and a host of developmental, communication, and socialization problems – are present far too early in an autistic child’s life to be considered a “mental” phenomenon.

I think that we are eventually – soon, hopefully – going to discover that classical autism involves brain-based issues yet to-be discovered. When (and, of course, if) those issues are discovered, the idea of an autism “spectrum” will be superfluous. A child will either be autistic or he will simply be peculiar in certain ways (which describes lots of children and even a good number of otherwise functional adults).

But given those circumstances, I predict that the mental health industry will simply rename “autism spectrum disorder” and continue to peddle the spurious notion that being even slightly odd requires professional and perhaps even pharmaceutical “treatment.” Speaking as a former peculiar child, I’d like to thank all those teachers who believed in the idea of children eventually “growing out of” their eccentricities

Rosemond has written nine best-selling parenting books and is one of America's busiest and most popular speakers. In the past few years, John has appeared on numerous national television programs including 20/20, Good Morning America, The View, Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect, Public Eye, The Today Show, CNN, and CBS Later Today.

Another psychologist replied:
Sounding off: Autism struggle is real LETTER TO THE EDITOR
John Carrosso wrote:
John Rosemond claims children diagnosed on the autism spectrum are often not legitimately autistic but only a “tad peculiar.” As a psychologist with 30 years' experience working directly with children on the autism spectrum, I find his claims to be misguided and likely to only increase parents' confusion and strife.

Practitioners work diligently to accurately diagnose, and, if anything, mild autism is underdiagnosed. A child with mild autism may appear only “a little quirky” without the casual observer knowing what's happening behind the scenes in the child's life. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders requires that “symptoms cause clinically significant impairment … .”

Parents seeking help do so for a reason. Even if symptoms appear only “mild” to others, their child is struggling. It's vital to ascertain the extent to which autism symptomology is contributing to these struggles and provide necessary treatment. Casting doubt on this process only hurts children.

Rosemond naively claims to have “done a good amount of reading on this issue.” Instead, he needs to spend a week with me and meet these children and their families.

The writer is clinical director of the Autism Center of Pittsburgh.

Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

It is Autism Acceptance Month


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Joined: 3 Mar 2016
Gender: Female
Posts: 589
Location: Australia

24 Dec 2017, 2:14 am

Well I lost interest when Rosmond cited Rainman. Which show's he knows jack sh#t. I find it embarrassing when people don't realise who uneducated they are. Kim Peek, did not have autism. He had agenesis of the corpus callosum. :roll:

I have a piece of paper that says ASD Level 2 so it must be true.


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Joined: 4 Feb 2010
Gender: Female
Posts: 23,827
Location: Pacific Northwest

24 Dec 2017, 3:21 pm

Rosemond sounds like the kind of psychologist my mom would have taken me too because he would seen me as a person than the diagnoses.

Son: Diagnosed w/anxiety and ADHD. Also academic delayed.

Daughter: NT, no diagnoses.


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Joined: 8 Jun 2017
Gender: Female
Posts: 415
Location: United States

31 Dec 2017, 2:16 pm

My oldest sister is a speech therapist, and she shares these opinions. It scares me, frankly. She's not even out of grad school yet, and she's already "undiagnosed" one child with autism, telling his parents that he just has OCD. I'm worried that they'll take her seriously, and that poor kid will never get the help he needs. She's also convinced my mom that I'm just psychologically whacked, in spite of what real doctors have told us to the contrary, preventing me from receiving sensory therapy and possibly a diagnosis. It seems irrevocably wrong, but objectivity in the medical world seems to be lacking, giving way to personal biases more than ever. Many professionals overstep their proper boundaries these days, and the result is naturally pseudoscience. I blame the rise of egotism. It's observable everywhere else. There's no reason the medical world would be spared.

I have not the kind affections of a pigeon. - Ralph Waldo Emerson