Is Autism a Disease?

One of my classmates in school has autism. When we asked our teacher what it was she told us it was a disease but my mom says she's wrong. Is Autism a Disease or a Disorder?
What's the correct definition of autism?

asked by Fell in Diseases & Conditions | 2526 views | 09-20-2009 at 11:23 PM

Many of us who have been supporting persons with autism don't think it is a 'disease' we can cure. It is a 'disorder' that is adversely affected by things that can be cured: such as food allergies with a gfcf diet or hypersensitive hearing with a hearing aid that blocks most noise or acceptable strategies to deal with sensory overload such as using an exercise machine instead of flapping and spinning. Many of these 'symptoms' of underlying disorders/diseases can be treated and cured. Certainly if we can cure underlying illnesses it will be easier to teach needed communication and social skills to those who truly have Autism Spectrum Disorder.

answered by Andrea | 09-20-2009 at 11:23 PM

Whenever I read or hear of autism referred to as a "disease," my back goes up. In my mind, autism falls into the same category as issues like ADHD, or dyslexia, or deafness, or insomnia.

Yes, it's a disorder... a set of symptoms... a challenge of real significance... but a disease? To me, the term "disease" implies hospital rooms... thermometers... and while I know some people with autism do wind up in the hospital, it's not the autism that sends them there.

answered by Bedrock | 09-20-2009 at 11:24 PM

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