A new definition of Autism?
The closing speaker at the National Autistic Society's 10th Anniversary Professionals Conference was Dr Will Mandy. Following directly on from the powerful presentation from Jamie and Lion, Dr Mandy began to propose a new definition of autism for the 21st century.
For decades we have been defining autism as determined by the professionals of the 20th century - as a rare presentation, defined by deficits and contained in childhood. In the 21st century, we know this to be inaccurate and therefore the time has come to edit the definition.
For the 21st century: autism is a relatively common neurodevelopmental difference that presents across the full range of intellectual abilities. People of all ages can be autistic. It can have gender-related presentation, but forms part of the natural variation of human beings, and with that brings challenges and strengths.