Autism Jumps The Shark…

When Annette Lewn’s children were young, she longed to join in the chats with other mothers at toddler group coffee mornings, but always felt like an outsider.

‘I desperately wanted to be part of the group, but I never seemed to say the right thing and I’d get funny looks from people,’ says Annette, 42, a school cleaner who lives in Chippenham, Wiltshire, with her son Ryan, 15, and daughter Rachel, 14.

‘I just don’t pick up on social niceties at all,’ she adds.

OK, so you’re not a people person. We can’t all be. Could be worse. You might have some awful…


Then, five years ago in her late 30s, Annette discovered the cause of her quirky behaviour traits. She has Asperger’s syndrome, sometimes referred to as a ‘mild’ form of autism.

Really? I mean, really? What, is it catching? Because there seems to be more and more of this every day.

It’s almost as though there were people with a vested interest in ensuring as many people were diagnosed with it as poss…


Tom Madders, head of campaigns at the National Autistic Society, says the problem is that the condition is often not spotted.

He adds: ‘Only 63 of 152 local authorities have a diagnostic pathway in place – a set route for GPs to refer on to a specialist so people with suspected Asperger’s can be assessed.’

And those ‘specialists’, Tom? Would they perhaps be…


Once the condition is diagnosed, the charity runs courses on social skills, a befriending scheme as well as providing information on employment and other training.


11 comments for “Autism Jumps The Shark…

  1. Henry Crun
    January 9, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Ah so *that’s* my problem then.

  2. David B. Wildgoose
    January 9, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Sorry Julia, but on this one you are completely wrong.

    Autism is primarily a communication disorder – and it takes two to communicate so the failure is actually on both sides.

    People with Asperger’s can learn to recognise unspoken “body language”, but the issue is that it isn’t instinctive in the way that it is for most of the population. Similarly, most “neuro-typicals” fail to recognise when they are dealing with someone on the Autistic spectrum and so don’t adjust how they interact.

    That’s why courses on social skills are provided and why it is important to identify when someone is further along the Autistic spectrum.

    As a matter of interest, given the lack of understanding evident in this post, have you ever been examined for Autism yourself? 🙂

    • January 10, 2014 at 7:15 am

      Nah, I’m just a cynical old cow. That’s not a ‘syndrome’, it’s a result of life… 😈

  3. The Jannie
    January 9, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    Having worked in several schools over the past twenty or so years I can assure any doubters that ASD is a growth industry. Check your local centre of left wing indoctrination – oops, sorry, I meant educational excellence. I’ll bet you find that “special needs”, “inclusion” or whatever they are using as this week’s trendy name is the biggest and best funded department in the place.

    • January 10, 2014 at 7:41 pm

      Speaking my language there.

  4. January 10, 2014 at 12:37 am

    It’s possible that this new industry is confusing (accidentally or on purpose) introversion with ‘ASD’ — hadn’t heard that before, so will bear it in mind.

    Introversion is definitely out of fashion these days, therefore, those so inclined should probably ‘make nice’ in public and get a lot of ‘alone time’ at home.

  5. January 10, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Where’s the local council/health ‘pathway’ for right barstards then? For the sheer bloody-minded interferers; for the rent-seeking scum?

  6. Suzy
    January 10, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    As a mother for a young child diagnosed with ASD, I find this post incredibly ignorant and careless. I only hope that you did not deter someone with real concerns from seeking a professional evaluation for themselves or a loved one, especially a child who can benefit tremendously from early intervention. This post is the perfect example of the lack of understanding about Autism in the public at large.

    • January 11, 2014 at 6:37 am

      A ‘lack of understanding’? Really?

      Or a refusal to see things your way and agree there’s some sort of treatable ‘problem’ with people who exhibit the whole gamut of human interactions but not sufficiently enough for those around them?

      If you give people money and status by finding and ‘treating’ a problem, I can assure you, they will go on doing so. And the ‘problem’ never goes away. In fact, it increases!

  7. January 11, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    I am not sure what to think of this article. I have a daughter with
    Aspergers and a non-verbal learning disability (that means she had to be taught what body language, tone of voice, facial expressions and eye contact mean the same way she was taught to read) Now she is fine and has learned to communicate with others, though it does require more effort for her. She has benefited tremendously from a lot of different therapies and services in her life.

    However my mother was a special education teacher for over 30 years and there were definetly ‘trends’ in the industry where one diagnosis was favored over all others for a couple of years. Then someone else would popularize a different diagnosis and suddenly everyone had that. I guess if it is providing services for kids who actually need some extra help I am not sure it is a bad thing.

    There are a lot of kids who don’t fit into the traditional box that our education system tries to make them fit and if they can get some extra help does it really matter what it is called?

    I would also like to mention a great website for families impacted by autism, is designed to help families find the treatments, therapists and services they need in the local area. It also has a lot of links to online support through links to organizations, forums and other references.

  8. Uncle Gus
    January 16, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    Never do get this sort of thing. The ASD industry wants every shy person to be diagnosed with Aspergers so they get more money. Suzy agrees with them because she has a child with Aspergers.

    Did I miss something? How does this compute? (Maybe I’m autistic or something…) 😕

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