Active discussions
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Many of these questions have been raised in the scientific and popular literature, and are summarized here for ease of reference.

The main points of this FAQ can be summarized as:

  • Many common ideas about autism have been researched and either confirmed or refuted.
  • Wikipedia:Neutral point of view requires that minority views not be given undue emphasis.
  • Therefore it is against Wikipedia policy for views without scientific support, such as the belief that autism is caused by vaccination, to be presented as a controversy in a science article like autism.
Q1: Why doesn't this article discuss the association between vaccination and autism?
A1: This association has been researched, and is mentioned in the page - specifically with some variant of the statement "there is no convincing evidence that vaccination causes autism and an association between the two is considered biologically implausible". Despite strong feelings by parents and advocates, to the point of leaving children unvaccinated against serious, sometimes deadly diseases, there is simply no scientific evidence to demonstrate a link between the two. Among the organizations that have reviewed the evidence between vaccination and autism are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (United States), Institute of Medicine (United States), National Institutes of Health (United States), American Medical Association, the Cochrane Collaboration (British/international), British Medical Association (Britain), National Health Service (United Kingdom), Health Canada (Canada) and the World Health Organization (international). The scientific community took this issue seriously, investigated the hypothesis, designed and published many studies involving millions of children, and they all converged on a lack of association between autism and vaccination. Given the large number of children involved, the statistical power of these studies was such that any association, even an extremely weak one, would have been revealed. Continuing to press the issue causes unnecessary anguish for parents and places their children, and other children at risk of deadly diseases (that disproportionately harm the unvaccinated).[1][2][3]
Q2: Why doesn't this article discuss the association between thiomersal, aluminum, squalene, toxins in vaccines?
A2: Thiomersal has also been investigated and no association is found between the two. Vaccines are heavily reviewed for safety beforehand, and since they are given to millions of people each year, even rare complications or problems should become readily apparent. The amount of these additives in each vaccine is minuscule, and not associated with significant side effects in the doses given. Though many parents have advocated for and claimed harm from these additives, without a plausible reason to expect harm, or demonstrated association between autism and vaccination, following these avenues wastes scarce research resources that could be better put to use investigating more promising avenues of research or determining treatments or quality-of-life improving interventions for the good of parents and children. Specifically regarding "toxins", these substances are often unnamed and only vaguely alluded to - a practice that results in moving the goalpost. Once it is demonstrated that an ingredient is not in fact harmful, advocates will insist that their real concern is with another ingredient. This cycle perpetuates indefinitely, since the assumption is generally a priori that vaccines are harmful, and no possible level of evidence is sufficient to convince the advocate otherwise.
Q3: Why doesn't this article discuss X treatment for autism?
A3: For one thing, X may be discussed in the autism therapies section. Though Wikipedia is not paper and each article can theoretically expand indefinitely, in practice articles have restrictions in length due to reader fatigue. Accordingly, the main interventions for autism are dealt with in summary style while minor or unproven interventions are left to the sub-article.
Q4: My child was helped by Y; I would like to include a section discussing Y, so other parents can similarly help their children.
A4: Wikipedia is not a soapbox; despite how important or effective an intervention may seem to be, ultimately it must be verified in reliable, secondary sources that meet the guidelines for medical articles. Personal testimonials are primary sources and can only be synthesized through inappropriate original research. If the intervention is genuinely helpful for large numbers of people, it is worth discussing it with a researcher, so it can be studied, researched, published and replicated. When that happens, Wikipedia can report the results as scientific consensus indicates the intervention is ethical, effective, widely-used and widely accepted. Wikipedia is not a crystal ball and can not be used to predict or promote promising interventions that lack evidence of efficacy. Without extensive testing, Wikipedia runs the risk of promoting theories and interventions that are either invalid (the Refrigerator mother hypothesis), disproven (secretin and facilitated communication),[4] or dangerous (chelation therapy, which resulted in the death of a child in 2005).[5]
Q5: Why doesn't this article discuss Z cause of autism? Particularly since there is this study discussing it!
A5: No ultimate cause has been found for autism. All indications are that it is a primarily genetic condition with a complex etiology that has to date eluded discovery. With thousands of articles published every year on autism, it is very easy to find at least one article supporting nearly any theory. Accordingly, we must limit the page to only the most well-supported theories, as demonstrated in the most recent, reliable, high-impact factor sources as a proxy for what is most accepted within the community.
Q6: Why does/doesn't the article use the disease-based/person-first terminology? It is disrespectful because it presents people-with-autism as flawed.
A6: This aspect of autism is controversial within the autistic community. Many consider autism to be a type of neurological difference rather than a deficit. Accordingly, there is no one preferred terminology. This article uses the terms found in the specific references.
Q7: Why doesn't the article emphasize the savant-like abilities of autistic children in math/memory/pattern recognition/etc.? This shows that autistic children aren't just disabled.
A7: Savant syndrome is still pretty rare, and nonrepresentative of most of those on the autistic spectrum. Research has indicated that most autistic children actually have average math skills.[6]
Q8: Why doesn't the article mention maternal antibody related autism or commercial products in development to test for maternal antibodies?
A8: There are no secondary independent third-party reviews compliant with Wikipedia's medical sourcing policies to indicate maternal antibodies are a proven or significant cause of autism, and commercial products in testing and development phase are unproven. See sample discussions here, and conditions under which maternal antibody-related posts to this talk page may be rolled back or otherwise reverted by any editor.
  1. ^ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2008). "Outbreak of measles--San Diego, California, January-February 2008" (Full free text). MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report. 57 (8): 203–206. PMID 18305451.
  2. ^ Parker, A. A.; Staggs, W.; Dayan, G. H.; Ortega-Sánchez, I. R.; Rota, P. A.; Lowe, L.; Boardman, P.; Teclaw, R.; Graves, C.; Lebaron, C. W. (2006). "Implications of a 2005 Measles Outbreak in Indiana for Sustained Elimination of Measles in the United States". New England Journal of Medicine. 355 (5): 447–455. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa060775. PMID 16885548.
  3. ^ Glanz, J. M.; McClure, D. L.; Magid, D. J.; Daley, M. F.; France, E. K.; Salmon, D. A.; Hambidge, S. J. (2009). "Parental Refusal of Pertussis Vaccination is Associated with an Increased Risk of Pertussis Infection in Children". Pediatrics. 123 (6): 1446–1451. doi:10.1542/peds.2008-2150. PMID 19482753.
  4. ^ Williams, K.; Wray, J. A.; Wheeler, D. M. (2012). Williams, Katrina (ed.). "Intravenous secretin for autism spectrum disorders (ASD)". The Cochrane Library. 4: CD003495. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003495.pub3. PMID 22513913.
  5. ^ Brown, M. J.; Willis, T.; Omalu, B.; Leiker, R. (2006). "Deaths Resulting from Hypocalcemia After Administration of Edetate Disodium: 2003-2005" (Full free text). Pediatrics. 118 (2): e534. doi:10.1542/peds.2006-0858. PMID 16882789.
  6. ^ Chiang, H. -M.; Lin, Y. -H. (2007). "Mathematical ability of students with Asperger syndrome and high-functioning autism: A review of literature" (Full free text). Autism. 11 (6): 547–56. doi:10.1177/1362361307083259. PMID 17947290.
Past discussions

For further information, see the numerous past discussions on these topics in the archives of Talk:Autism:

External links
Autism is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on August 24, 2005.
Article milestones
December 31, 2004Peer reviewReviewed
August 3, 2005Peer reviewReviewed
August 10, 2005Featured article candidatePromoted
December 17, 2006Featured article reviewDemoted
July 24, 2007Good article nomineeListed
July 30, 2007Peer reviewReviewed
August 14, 2007Featured article candidatePromoted
Current status: Featured article

prognosis: added sourceEdit

I added a line and sourced an autistic mother's website about the reasoning why many adult autistics push back on "cure" language as its incredibly important since many disability organizations have addressed why that language is violent and ableist-- and its considered hateful. I am missing something for my reference in the bibliography for 163-- I can't quite figure out exactly what I'm missing/brain exhausted- will come back but if anyone is really good at the references- could they help fix it.

I can return with more sources if needed — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kizemet (talkcontribs) 02:20, 31 July 2020 (UTC)

Biased sentenceEdit

"Controversies surround other proposed environmental causes; for example, the vaccine hypothesis, which has been disproven" Why is this included On the Earth page we dont see the equivalent sentence "Controversies surrounds the shape of the earth, weather it is a globe or flat"

The sentence should be changed to "It has been proven vaccines do not cause autism!

That reads better and makes much more sense.

--HalloHelloHalloHello (talk) 09:33, 5 August 2020 (UTC)

New CDC statisticEdit

It seems the latest CDC statistic is 1/54 in 2016. I would have changed that if I was an authorized editor. John NH (talk) 16:05, 29 August 2020 (UTC)

CITEVAR breachEdit

I have restored the original citation style used in this article, per CITEVAR, which is the long and well-established Diberri format using vancouver style authors with more than five authors truncated to three plus et al. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 06:15, 6 September 2020 (UTC)

So many QuestionsEdit

I am quite surprised by the very questionable quality of this extremely important wikipedia page. There are so many issues. (And of course also some cool infos).
I am writing this as an autistic person.
A few issues I want to tackle:
. Most of the article has an ableist tone to it
. Lots of outdated imagery that pushes stereotypes (no adults, only children)
. It is extremely USA-centered
. No reference to known autistic people
. No reference to the importance of autistic person vs person with autism
There are many more topics (gender, sex, autistic life, comorbidities, autism in adults, inclusion programs, the discussion on ABA, the discussion on high-low functioning, etc).
Also, of course anybody can write about anything on wikipedia. But it does seem that a lot here is written by people who have no connection to autism, neither professional, or are autistic themselves.
With so many ableist prejudice out in this world, this article is super important and we must improve.

What do you think? Lizvlx (talk) 07:21, 5 October 2020 (UTC)

As someone with autism, the autistinc person vs person with autism thing is only really debated by people without autism. Most autistic people are fine with either, including myself. Cvkoning (talk) 18:13, 8 October 2020 (UTC)

Two things:
  1. Please note summary style and see Societal and cultural aspects of autism.
  2. Wikipedia's medical content is based on secondary reviews and scholarly literatures, as explained at WP:MEDRS. Those "writing" the article are scholarly sources, because Wikipedia only summarizes what the most recent, high quality sources say. If you have MEDRS sources that you think should be incorporated, please suggest them. At the societal and cultural aspects article, sourcing requirements may be less strict, depending on whether the text being cited is related to health or other.
SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:51, 8 October 2020 (UTC)
Return to "Autism" page.