chapter  5
Autism Spectrum Disorder
ByZachary Rossetti
Pages 14

The field of autism, still in its relative infancy, has grown rapidly and changed dramatically over the last few decades. Once little known and infrequently diagnosed, autism is now a condition and topic of focus within school mental health, special education, related fields, and general society (Heward, 2013). However, despite advances there remains much that is unknown about autism, and debates about etiology and intervention persist in the field. As the excerpts above indicate, autism is inherently complex as a behaviorally based spectrum disorder and cultivates strong opinions by stakeholders. For example, while Simpson (2001) considers autism to be baffling, Grandin (1995), who is herself a woman with autism, believes it to be an important and contributing part of her identity.