Diagnosis is not uniform; it is a messy but necessary process of affirmation for in the individual and a confirmation for those around him. It is a powerful tool, which comes with side-effects and is open to misuse. However, while it must be approached with care, it should also be readily available. It also needs to move beyond simply dividing the world into those who have autism and those who do not.
We need to list the developmental disabilities, such as attention deficit, executive dysfunction or incoordination, that, together with the social impairment, may be mild in themselves but can combine to produce a hermit, trapped in his home. In the end this broad, descriptive assessment is an essential step to ‘seeing ourselves as others see us,’ the self-knowledge needed to understand relationships with others – and therefore a right, essential to development – but only if the recipient (or their representatives) can control the process.
-Dr. Tom Berney