Intended for healthcare professionals

Clinical Review

Diagnosis of autism

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 28 August 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:488

Re: The current epidemic

Dear Dr. Timimi,

You are so right. A call for the early diagnosis of autism will
create endless pseudopathology with far reaching implications for the
lifes of children and their families. Autism is a spectrum and includes
the very disturbed children as well as children on the very soft end of
the scale.

The typical case is the anxious child which is a little bit slow
and shy at school and whose father ''was exactly the same when he was
young''. The father is now married with a stable family, own house and
a good job. He never saw a child psychiatrist whereas his child was
diagnosed as ''Autistic Spectrum Disorder'' after the initial assessment.

Maybe child psychiatrists, community paediatricians and GPs should state
more often an open diagnosis before we commit ourselfes to far reaching
conclusions. This would certainly not impair the care and committment we
give to our patients.

Competing interests:  
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

02 September 2003
Philipp Conradi
Maypole Health Centre, 10 Sladepool Farm Road, Kings Heath, B 14 f DJ