Country music legend Naomi Judd took her life after a long battle with depression. She was 76. Her daughter Wynonna wrote a heartbreaking Tweet that caught my eye for more than the sadness of the loss. She wrote, "We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness." For years, we've been told that autism is not a disease, it's a psychiatric diagnosis. And we are castigated for referring to it as such. That said, Autism is classified in the DSM-V, which is a manual of mental disorders. Per CDC: The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) provides standardized criteria to help diagnose ASD. If Naomi Judd can say that her mother had the disease of depression, why can't we have the same "courtesy" and discuss autism in terms of disease, which has a cause, a set of symptoms , treatments and cure. Oh - that's why.
We're beyond the ping pong matches of neurodiversity blogs versus Age of Autism that were prevalent in the 2000s and 20-teens. Not many of the bloggers are still active. And autism has been shunted aside, like the Little Engine That Couldn't while other diagnoses have chugged full steam ahead for media attention and social change.
I sent out the Tweet shown yesterday. We're solidly tamped down, shadow banned, whatever you want to call having zero reach to our 36,000 followers. So we're asking here if you think of autism as a disease. And if the parlance even matters to you in the grand scheme of the zillion things you need to help yourself or your loved one on the spectrum.