Evolution of the Autism Diagnosis
The Carlat Child Psychiatry Report, Volume 8, Number 1, January 2017
Fred Volkmar, MD
Professor of psychology at the Yale Child Study Center, New Haven, CT
Dr. Volkmar has disclosed that he is an editor for Springer Publishing. Dr. Elliott has reviewed this article and found no evidence of bias in this educational activity.
Clinicians used to say, “Oh, autism is very clear. It’s the one true disorder in child psychiatry.” Now we realize that there’s a spectrum, which makes some sense, especially from a broad evolutionary perspective: If these changes were totally maladaptive, they presumably would have been lost over time; instead, they’ve persisted. That suggests that, for some people, some other combinations of these genes must be somewhat or even quite adaptive.