In search of truce in the autism wars

The following is an excerpt from an article that recently appeared in Spectrum News.  The article was written by Alisa Opar, an article editor for Audubon Magazine and a frequent blogger. Alisa has published several other articles, also on Spectrum News, that describe the plight of the more severely affected autistic individual and the special struggles faced by low income families with disabled children.

The article, published April 24, 2019, starts as follows:

Earlier this year, London’s Southwark Playhouse announced the cast of a new play, “All in a Row.” It was instantly clear this would not be a typical family drama. The play unfolds the night before social services separates a boy named Laurence from his family. Unlike the other three characters, Laurence, a nonverbal autistic and sometimes aggressive 11-year-old, would be portrayed by a child-size puppet.

When the play opened, a reviewer for The Guardian newspaper awarded it four stars, saying it had “warmth and truth.” On Twitter and beyond, theater-goers also offered praise.

“It was utterly believable. Raw. Honest,” Sarah Ziegel, mother of four autistic boys and author of “A Parent’s Guide to Coping With Autism,” wrote on her blog. The puppet was an effective stand-in for a role that would have been too challenging for any child actor, Ziegel wrote. She applauded the playwright, Alex Oates, for addressing severe autism: “It is not pretty and it is certainly not fashionable in these days of neurodiversity where everyone is supposed to accept autism as a difference and not a disability.”

I was grateful that Alisa interviewed me for the article and took my opinion into consideration. Those who want to read the whole article can click on the link provided in this sentence.

2 responses to “In search of truce in the autism wars

  1. There will never be “peace” in the autism wars until injustice created by the elimination of Aspergers in DSM-V is reversed, and there are separate diagnosis for Aspergers, “High-Functioning” and “Profound and Severe” autism. The needs are too wide and varied among the three groups.


    • I think the solution is to divide it like Type 1 or Type 2.
      Allow for moving from the one type to the other if the child gains verbal abilities and requires different care.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.