Understanding the autism spectrum

Hill, Elisabeth L.. 2009. Understanding the autism spectrum. Bionews, [Article]

No full text available

Abstract or Description

Numerous grant funding calls, as well as public and scientific debates are now focusing on the cause of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). While it is important that we search for the cause(s) of the disorder - in order to improve support, education, employment and so on for those on the spectrum - such an approach is problematic for two reasons. First, there is an implicit suggestion that the quest for a cause will be simple and thus achievable. Second, there is a general assumption that there will be a unitary (single) cause to explain all of the wide ranging behaviours seen within an individual with ASD, as well as across the spectrum of the condition. With the development of molecular and behavioural genetic research programmes, as well as neuroimaging research, this quest has appeared to many to have an end in sight. Despite the wealth of superb minds focused on understanding the condition, why, then, have we failed to identify one (or more) causes of ASD?

Item Type:


Departments, Centres and Research Units:



16 November 2009Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

21 Mar 2011 13:00

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2017 15:46

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



Edit Record Edit Record (login required)