The trouble with “overdiagnosis” rhetoric

Intellectualizing

There’s a common sentiment — one I shared before I knew anything about autism — that kids today get too many labels. How can such a huge percentage of kids have autism, ADHD, and so forth? Here’s today’s example article at Salon.

I’ve come to believe that there’s a real concern behind this sentiment, but it accepts too much of the status quo. The problem is not that we’re putting people on the wrong side of the line; the problem is that our bureaucracies insist on drawing a bright line where there isn’t one… and that people are so afraid of autism when they need not be.

If we look at real humans in all their dimensional richness, then we can estimate that they are at 10th or 90th or 99th percentile on “autistic traits,” as observed on some measure such as the ADOS. These tests (not 100% successfully)…

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