An open letter to Professor David Mandell Editor-in-Chief, Autism in response to the article “A new era in Autism”

We believe that, as long as autism – which is not a mental ill-health condition – remains in the psychiatric diagnostic manuals, there will continue to be those who use this to justify their attempts to find a cure. We believe it would be far more difficult to justify manipulating the human genome to remove autism, if it were not considered a psychiatric disorder and listed as such, alongside conditions such as schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder and psychosis. Currently autism must be categorised as either a mental health issue, or an intellectual learning disability[1], in order for autistic individuals to qualify for and access services, and yet although these can occur alongside autism, autism in itself is neither. One way to protect autistic individuals from any loss of access to support services, following the removal of their diagnostic label from the psychiatric manuals, would be to award autism its own separate status, as the cognitive difference many of us believe it to be. We therefore advocate that autism be removed from the existing psychiatric manuals and instead be included in a separate non-psychiatric identification (diagnostic) manual of neurodivergent needs[2].

An open letter to Professor David Mandell Editor-in-Chief, Autism in response to the article “A new era in Autism”