Views & Reviews Review

Back on the autistic spectrum

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 14 August 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e5470

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  1. Sabina Dosani, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, Leapfrog Clinic, London
  1. leapfrog{at}

As a celebrated novel about a boy with Asperger’s syndrome is adapted for the stage, Sabina Dosani warns of the costly and non-evidence based options being marketed to parents of children with autistic spectrum disorders

Curled up, groaning, and covered in his own vomit. Fifteen year old Christopher Boone is literally sick from too much information. He’s just found out that his mother, who he thought dead, is alive. Christopher, maths star turned schoolboy sleuth, sets out to solve the mystery of who killed his neighbour’s dog, Wellington. He likes puzzles. He also likes trains and making train timetables and recites prime numbers when anxious. Seeing Christopher clicking together sections of toy railway track, drawing chalk circles, and experiencing sensory overload on the underground through clever lighting and sounds while sitting in a seat labelled “you are sitting in a prime seat” (prime numbers are one of Christopher’s particular interests), made me think: “So this is what having Asperger’s is like.” In this stage adaptation of the prize winning mystery novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the actor Matthew Barker’s performance of Christopher was impressively clinically accurate, gripping, hilarious, and tragic.1

Christopher has Asperger’s syndrome, a disability that is part of the autistic spectrum. At one end of …

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