Talk:Autism spectrum

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Former good article nominee Autism spectrum was a Natural sciences good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
December 30, 2011 Good article nominee Not listed

Picture or diagram[edit]

Hi, I don't know if this is a good suggestion, but I think this page would benefit from a diagram showing the spectrum it's talking about to get the concept across. Perhaps someone who understands the page could make one? Jamietwells (talk) 10:08, 3 August 2014 (UTC)

It's not a spectrum in the sense that the visible light spectrum is a spectrum. Frankly, spectrum is a bit of a misnomner. It's more of a continuum, a related set of correlated behaviors and experiences whose cause and manifestation are not well understood or even well defined. A diagram would most likely only add misinformation.
The autism community likes this symbol to represent the diversity of the spectrum: Autism spectrum infinity awareness symbol.svg
Muffinator (talk) 12:14, 3 August 2014 (UTC)
I think it could be useful. Something similar to these:
May get across the range of symptoms of ASD better for interested readers. What the autism community represents themselves with isn't really relevant to an informational article, is it? -Iamozy (talk) 22:08, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
Those first two (venn diagram and triangle) are a possible graphical design, although those specific images are missing a lot of information. The graph doesn't work at all, especially since the various autism spectrum diagnoses are not distinguished by IQ (AFAIK autistic people are no more or less intelligent than any other neurotype). The rainbow infinity is relevant since it's a symbol for autism in general, not just of the community or organizations. Muffinator (talk) 22:40, 5 August 2014 (UTC)

Review article collection[edit]

Hi All, I have a PubMed Autism Review article collection, which may be useful. Been busy elsewhere and not much has been added from this year. dolfrog (talk) 13:17, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

Genetic risk factors[edit]

I don't understand why an article in Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry is an unreliable medical source. I found another source for the multiple genes involved: but before I start rephrasing and referencing, I would like to know if this is a reliable source (and if not, why not), so I won't do it in vain... Lova Falk talk 11:06, 31 December 2012 (UTC)


I happened to respond to a query over at the Reference Desk, and noticed that this article doesn't mention the significant ASD gender differential. I found a good secondary sources, with reliable references; in case somebody[who?] would like to add this.

~Eric F (talk) 08:27, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Hi Eric, why don't you add it? Lova Falk talk 10:49, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
Funny, I've found other ASD pages where sex difference data gets short shrift. It's apparently a pattern. Leadwind (talk) 15:57, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

Evolutionary Considerations[edit]

This section was added as part of the Evolutionary Medicine Wikipedia Network. Wikipedia is increasingly used as a medical reference resource by the general public and medical students. This assignment, designed for students in Evolutionary Medicine courses across the country, is designed to contribute to the goals of the Evolutionary Medicine Wikipedia Network (EvMedWikiNet), identified as a priority by the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) working group on evolutionary medicine education. The goal of the EvMedWikiNet is to add evolutionary considerations to existing Wikipedia articles and to develop new pages on key terms and concepts in evolutionary medicine. The EvMedWikiNet aims to make Wikipedia entries on Evolutionary Medicine topics up-to-date, reliable, cross-linked and accessible to the general public while integrating effectively with existing Wikipedia content. Please feel free to add/edit this section as you feel necessary. This article was edited by Sarmocid at Case Western Reserve University. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sarmocid (talkcontribs) 19:42, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

I removed this text one for cut-and-paste copyvio. There is still some too close paraphrasing, text that does not accurately represent the source, text that is WP:UNDUE, and text does not belong in this article (speculative theories about causes, all based on one paper, might be better placed at causes of autism within context and given due weight). There are also WP:MSH issues. I will not revert a second time without further discussion, but I believe there is little of this edit that should be left here. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:01, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
Wow, Sarmocid provides a bunch of referenced material about evolutionary medicine and sees it all deleted. That's a bummer. The gene imprinting theory and the EMB theory get no treatment on this page? Sarmocid's material was lengthy, and as Sandy says it's better on the Causes page, but the reader deserves at least some treatment of this topic. Evolution is controversial when applied to human behavior (or at least it used to be), but it's still a notable point of view. Leadwind (talk) 16:05, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
Sure but editor must 1) paraphrase 2) use secondary sources per WP:MEDRS 3) write in an encyclopedic style. While other editors may be willing to help this bar must be reached before the content is added. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 00:38, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
Student encounters editor who has a case of IDHT and edits with a POV-- unfortunate. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:47, 19 November 2013 (UTC)


The claim that thimerosal is 50% ethylmercury is confusing. The name ethylmercury suggests it is a compound, maybe diethylmercury, but according to the ethylmercury page it is actually the (mono) ethyl mercury (II) ion, with a +1 charge. The thimerosal page shows a covalent structure for thimerosal, so it does not contain any ions or any ethylmercury in particular. We could speculate that it might dissociate into ethylmercury ions and another ion, but that does not mean it is 50% ethylmercury. I can't help wondering if there is confusion between compounds and mixtures or reactants and products here. There seems to be an unsubstantiated implication that thimerosal is 50% as toxic as ionic ethylmercury salts. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Straits (talkcontribs) 11:23, 29 October 2013 (UTC)

Is Autism caused by Birth Injuries?[edit]

Please take a look at this website there are tons of articles here, written by certified doctors and containing tons of references. The contention of this site is that a widely used and recently (last 60 years) adopted delivery procedure is causing brain damage, with Autism being a common result. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:46, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

I don't think those satisfy WP:MEDRS. Dbrodbeck (talk) 00:51, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

Sorry about the bad edit[edit]

But what was written citing [1] as source was not verifiable from the citation given. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2600:E00F:4004:10:0:0:0:3B (talk) 04:30, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

Counter systemic bias CE overdue[edit]

This looks like a sandbox for a Autism spectrum in the United States article.

Meanwhile, we also want a Autism spectrum article. I think, copy-editing with the specific aim of countering systemic bias should be encouraged.   – Ian, DjScrawl (talk) 12:21, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

Could you point out where you see a problem? I think that would help greatly. Dbrodbeck (talk) 12:28, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for asking. Anywhere US jargon is used, without being couched as such. The first two Lead sentences seem to have about three examples of that.   – Ian, DjScrawl (talk) 12:38, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

OK, so here are those first two sentences: 'The autism spectrum or autistic spectrum describes a range of conditions classified as neurodevelopmental disorders in the fifth revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM-5). The DSM-5, published in 2013, redefined the autism spectrum to encompass the previous (DSM-IV-TR) diagnoses of autism, Asperger syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), childhood disintegrative disorder, and Rett syndrome.[1] '.

Is the issue the referencing the DSM? The DSM is used all over the world, not just in the US. Dbrodbeck (talk) 14:38, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

Nope. It's the lead - grounding the topic in more than three authoritative definitions would be excessive and, if only one's to be used, I'm sure this is amongst the best. However, I don't think that contraction should leave the suggestion it is the authoritative definition. I'm sure it's known to highly engaged Wikipedia readers in most countries and that most of those would regard it as a leading document (often informing future diagnosis/practice in their country). Meanwhile, I'm sure most Wikipedia readers who visit are not so pre-informed and most of those are not from the U.S. Thus, in this case I think, a well placed "In the USA, ..." would be in order.
I hope that illustrates a more general WP:CSB perspective. <aside> Further to that, here in the UK I've heard from multiple sources that the content of DSM-5 is considered to be politically motivated, by many in the Autism carers community - in which case, perhaps Wikipedia should be more reserved about relying upon it. </aside>   – Ian, DjScrawl (talk) 17:24, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
No, the DSM is used worldwide; adding "in the USA" is incorrect. The more correct solution to the problem is to include WHO's ICD crit. in the lead. That has not been done because the entire suite of autism articles has not been updated to reflect DSM5 v WHO ICD. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:28, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes adding the ICD thing would be fine. To say the DSM is US centric is just incorrect. Dbrodbeck (talk) 17:54, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
Sweden calling. For good and for bad we are strongly influenced by DSM... Lova Falk talk 10:36, 14 December 2013 (UTC)

"Opposite of autism" revert[edit]

I've removed Williams syndrome from See also for the second time. It was added (twice) by an editor claiming that Williams is the "opposite of autism";[2] that editor then added same to the Williams syndrome article, which I have corrected. We don't add every neurodevelopmental disorder here that has some similarities to autism (eg Fragile X), for that we have, for example, Category:Neurogenetic disorders and Category:Neurological disorders. There's no reason to think that Williams deserves a special mention. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:47, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

Rett syndrome[edit]

I thought Rett syndrome was going to be pulled out of the autism spectrum in this edition of the DSM. (I don't have a copy.) --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 17:37, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

All of the Wikipedia articles relating to the DSM IV definitions of autistic issues remain completely out of touch with the recent DSM 5 revisions of last year. Have a look at DSM-5: The New Diagnostic Criteria For Autism Spectrum Disorders dolfrog (talk) 16:23, 8 January 2014 (UTC)


This paragraph was present at the end of the article, below the navigation templates. As the place is inappropriate, I paste it here:

Reference Page:
*"Autism-Home Treatment." WebMD. WebMD, 12 Apr. 2010. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.
*"Autism-Other Places To Get Help." WebMD. WebMD, 12 Apr. 21010. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.
*"Autism Symptoms in Children & Adults - WebMD." WebMD. WebMD, 12 Apr. 2010. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.
*"Autism Treatments -- Therapies, Medications, and Alternatives." WebMD. WebMD, 12 Apr. 2010. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.
*"Autism Types, Signs, Therapies, Causes, and More." WebMD. WebMD, 12 Apr. 2010. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.
*Feature, R. Morgan GriffinWebMD. "Caregiver's Guide to Autism Symptoms." WebMD. WebMD, 12 Apr. 2010. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.
*Fundukian, Laurie J., and Jeffrey Wilson. The Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Health. Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2008. Print.
*Fundukian, Laurie J. The Gale Encyclopedia of Genetic Disorders. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 2010. Print.
*Narins, Brigham. The Gale Encyclopedia of Nursing and Allied Health. Detroit: Gale Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.
*"Screening and Diagnosis." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26 Dec. 2013. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.
*"Treatment." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 Dec. 2013. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.
*"What Is Autism? Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, and More." WebMD. WebMD, 12 Apr. 2010. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.

If anybody would like to integrate it properly in the article, feel free to do so. Coreyemotela (talk) 19:33, 7 June 2014 (UTC).

Autistic-first language versus person-first language[edit]

Clear consensus that the terms "autism" and "autism spectrum disorder" should not be used interchangeably. This RfC does not affect the existing weak consensus from a previous RfC in favour of using the term "autistic person" over "person with autism". There is not a simple adjective meaning "with autism spectrum disorder" and so the phrase "person with autism spectrum disorder" is the obvious choice and the choice endorsed by consensus in this RfC. Yaris678 (talk) 19:51, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

A consensus was reached on Talk:Autism, that Wikipedia's style should favor the phrase "autistic person" rather than "person with autism". We apparently need an entirely separate consensus in cases where "person with autism..." is followed by "...spectrum disorder."

Support because people on the autism spectrum are autistic. That's why it's called the autism spectrum. The terms "autistic" and "on the spectrum" can be used interchangeably as they mean the same thing (aside: "on the spectrum" should be used less often as it is cumbersome). The DSM-5 does not recognize "classic" autism and ASD as separate diagnoses. Wikipedia should reflect the most current style guides and not use the language of outdated references, even if the content of the references is otherwise accurate. Muffinator (talk) 19:07, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose "Autism spectrum disorder" is not the same as autism. Thus saying "autistic person" is not the same as saying "person with ASD" Discussion also here [3] and [4] The DSM5 using the term "autism spectrum disorder" Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 19:34, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
    Calling a person autistic does not preclude the possibility of ASD, nor specify "classic" autism. People with Asperger syndrome are also autistic. Muffinator (talk) 21:24, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
    I disagree with that statement and that is not how I use the term. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 21:33, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
    @Muffinator:, I agree with Doc James here. I know multiple people with Aspergers on a personal level, and I've worked in a peds/neurobehavioral clinic, many of whose patients have Asperger syndrome, and I've never heard any of them being referred to as having autism or being autistic. It's always that they "have Aspergers" or that they are "on the spectrum". cymru.lass (talkcontribs) 16:09, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose Person first language is standard in cases of medical and psychological diagnosis. Individuals who are diagnosed with autism are people first. They are people separate of any diagnosed condition. --BoboMeowCat (talk) 00:03, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
    Incorrect. Autistic people are autistic first, but that is not the discussion necessary here. The question here is whether "autism" and "autism spectrum disorder" should follow the same guidelines. Muffinator (talk) 07:02, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
What exactly are you asking in this RFC? In other words, what is the style guideline now re: ASD and what do you want to change it to? --Holdek (talk) 00:23, 12 July 2014 (UTC)
Instances of "person/people/individual with autism spectrum disorder" should be replaced with "autistic person/people/individual" or "person/people/individual on the autism spectrum". Muffinator (talk) 09:32, 12 July 2014 (UTC)
Support, only to keep the sentence structure consistent. See below for vote change.--Holdek (talk) 19:11, 22 July 2014 (UTC) (As to some of the above discussion, I should note that the World Health Organization, at variance with the DSM-5, chose not to abandon the differential diagnosis of disorders on the autism spectrum in its ICD-10, but it's best not to get too far afield, and instead keep this a word order issue. I also don't think it matters if someone is called an "autistic person" or a "person with autism," but it seems that consensus was already established on that issue.) Holdek (talk) 15:24, 12 July 2014 (UTC)
The WHO is not always on the mark about things. And I agree about 'autistic person' v. 'person w/autism.' SW3 5DL (talk) 14:29, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Regardless, it's a reliable source. Holdek (talk) 12:31, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Some reliable sources contradict each other, so we have to ask the question of which sources Wikipedia should be aligned with. Muffinator (talk) 19:36, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
If reliable sources contradict each other, then that contradiction should be mentioned in the article, provided it doesn't conflict with WP: UNDUE. Wikipedia doesn't "align" with one reliable source over an other. Holdek (talk) 20:17, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
I was referring to style, not content. NPOV doesn't always work the same way. Muffinator (talk) 22:15, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Comment. DSM-5 causes considerable difficulty in day-to-day conversation. Most English-speaking people are entirely unaware of the DSM-5 change. So if you call me (a person with what used to be described as high functioning Asperger's) either an "autistic" or a "person with autism", you're definitely going to confuse a whole lot of people. This change in the meaning of a word in the scientific community has deep consequences for people like me who were just recategorized. I can understand the desire to keep this article up to date with DSM's vocabulary - but understand the consequences of what you do in confusing almost everyone who reads it! IMHO, we should use the term "autism spectrum" when you're making broad-brush statements about the entire spectrum of people - and use more tightly focussed terms (even if DSM-V doesn't care to define them) when you're referring to specific pieces of the spectrum. You specifically have to be careful NOT to use the term "autism" in it's new wider meaning unless you really are saying something that's common to all individuals across the entire spectrum. From my personal observations of people at a variety of positions along the spectrum, it's abundantly clear that people on one extreme end share almost no symptoms in common with those at the other extreme. Yet it is clearly the case that it is indeed a spectrum disorder because people can be found with symptoms at every point between those two extremes that aren't all that different to those people immediately to one side or the other of them along the spectrum. My take on this is that there are hardly ANY statements this article might make that would require finding a plural noun covering every single person with an "autism spectrum" diagnosis. That realisation may make this conversation largely become a moot point. If each time you consider which term to use, you were to ask yourself "should I be saying this about the entire spectrum?" - I think we wouldn't have a major issue here. SteveBaker (talk) 02:13, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
The issue then becomes knowing which categorization to use in each instance. "Autism" often refers to the entire spectrum, therefore references specifically to "autistic disorder" as defined by DSM-IV need to be labeled as such. We also run into the issue that the now-deprecated terms of autistic disorder, high-functioning autism, and even Asperger syndrome were not well defined to begin with. Muffinator (talk) 05:15, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
The explanations of what the terms mean, particularly what's new and what's antiquated, and according to whom, should be located in the leads of these articles, perhaps even in the first paragraph. We shouldn't be doing original research here and deciding ourselves what terms are appropriate if there are recent reliable sources using differing terms. Holdek (talk) 21:11, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment: @Muffinator: The bot sent me. I'm trying to understand the issues here. I'm not a psychiatrist, I'm a virologist, so bear with me. As I understand it, the DSM-5 considers 'classic autism' and ASD the same diagnosis? And you say, "Wikipedia should reflect the most current style guides and not use the language of outdated references, even if the content of the references is otherwise accurate." So the literature is lagging behind this current style, but it is the new way of describing the two? Is that what you're saying? SW3 5DL (talk) 02:30, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
The DSM-5 uses a unified diagnosis of "autism spectrum disorder" that includes what was previously referred to as autism or Asperger's, as well as similar diagnoses such as Rett syndrome. Parts or subsections of the spectrum are no longer diagnosed individually. I hope that answers your question. Muffinator (talk) 02:39, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes, it does. Since this is the way things are done now, then I suggest, as Holdek says above, that the lede reflect the changes and add in the appropriate reliable source, in this case the DSM-5, and make whatever style changes are necessary to the relevant article(s). Which is another way of saying, Support. SW3 5DL (talk) 03:27, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose Calling someone an "autistic person" implies that they have autism. According to the DSM V, autism is no longer a possible diagnosis, so it would be misleading to refer to anyone with ASD as "autistic". In common language, referring to someone as "autistic" implies something more specific than ASD, and I think it's important that this article remain understandable to your everyday reader. Wording as chosen by the American Psychiatric Association also uses "individuals with ASD" --Iamozy (talk) 01:24, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Oppose. I've thought about this some, and I'm going to change my vote. It seems like unnecessary instruction creep that endorses a particular POV. Upon reflection, the consistency argument is not enough to make editing the numerous autism and ASD-related articles more cumbersome. Holdek (talk) 19:11, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
If it's instruction creep, that implies that it's unimportant, and uncontroversial, in which case why do we need consensus in the first place? Muffinator (talk) 05:10, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
Instruction creep is important though. That's why we need consensus to add more to the MOS. Holdek (talk) 05:10, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
So it's an important enough distinction that we need to amend the MOS before making any changes, but not important enough to actually amend the MOS. Sound like a Catch-22 to me. Muffinator (talk) 07:15, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
We don't need to amend the MOS at all, is what I'm saying. Holdek (talk) 13:36, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment. I'm still a little wet behind the ears here, but considering that DSM is almost exclusively used in the US,[5] do WP:UNDUE and WP:UCN come into play here? Or is it that DSM is reflecting the current diagnosic terminology and it's the ICD that is outdated? Little pob (talk) 08:17, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
As far as contradictions between the DSM and the ICD on this issue: since both are established, respected authorities, I do not think Wikipedia should be choosing one over the other in any type of MOS. --Holdek (talk) 19:25, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
Compared to the DSM, the ICD is outdated, but since this discrepancy arose recently (DSM-5 was published in May 2013), there aren't many reliable sources comparing the two. Speaking purely form personal speculation, I think the ICD-11 will more closely resemble the DSM-5, but an international document has a longer review process than that of one country, and one of the major criticisms of DSM-5 was that it was rushed. Muffinator (talk) 21:06, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
The DSM is very widely used. It is published by an American organization, but it is used preferentially by most psychiatrists in developed countries (and psychiatry-affiliated programs; for example, it is widely used by European special education staff). WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:28, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Support for consistency with other articles and for using common sense. I really need that username (talk) 20:41, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose because autism has been for most of its diagnostic history an individual condition rather than purely an umbrella term. This extends to popular usage, in which "he has autism" can be contrasted with "he has Asperger's". This being said, "person on the autistic spectrum" can get repetitive, so as always, I advocate varying wording - to the extent that it isn't misleading, as "autistic person" could be - for prose freshness. Tezero (talk) 00:43, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The OP is over-reaching. A recent RfC was closed with a consensus to use the formulation "autistic people" in the Autism article. Nowhere was it suggested that this was an RfC about developing a rule of style for the whole of Wikipedia, and the result of the RfC should not be generalised, in particular, because the closer was explicit in saying that consensus was weak. There's no reason at all why it should not be acceptable for different articles to use slightly different formulations, with respect either to autism or ASD (or if there is, the reason needs explaining). Formerip (talk) 20:25, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
    You are correct that the consensus on Talk:Autism was labeled "weak" and the discussion was re-opened on those grounds. Therefore, any consensus on this page has to stand on its own, not referencing another consensus. Muffinator (talk) 18:26, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose per FormerIP. Dbrodbeck (talk) 22:07, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.