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Autism is a behavioral label

At this point, Autism is just a behavioral label. A diagnosis of autism is made by specially trained professionals by evaluating a child or individual, paying particular attention to developmental delays in:  i) speech and communication, ii) social interactions, and iii) repetitive behaviors.  Any number of combinations of deficits can earn a diagnosis of autism and the severity can be very mild to debilitating. As you can see from the above, two children, both with a diagnosis of autism, can be dramatically different.


Our focus at N of One is primarily on children who are significantly affected to the point of having questions about their ability to live an independent life .  For the majority of  those individuals, medicine can’t really say what is happening physiologically to cause their behaviors.  Evaluating a medical condition by subjective behaviors is poor science, yet it is all we have at this point.

Autism Nonprofit, Medical Research, N of One, Charity

Criteria evaluated to diagnose

  • Diagnosis by aggregate scorecard


  • Spectrum of severity:  Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)


  • Says nothing about what is going on physiologically

Until we can understand the fundamental biological mechanisms of autism, we can’t segregate patients into similar groups and find treatments that work for some groups, but perhaps not others.


Prior to 1960, the old view of autism was that it was caused by poor, detached parenting, something we now know not to be true, however this egregious error by the leading doctors of the day did much to create mistrust of the medical establishment by the parents of children with autism. More recently the view that was (and still is by many) widely held is that autism is a fixed (static), genetically caused disorder of brain wiring from which children could not emerge from. However, this view is likely outdated, as well.


Recent research from many of the world’s top researchers suggests a new view: that autism's behaviors are a byproduct of significant alterations in cell metabolism, immune function, neurological function, and the human microbiome. The alterations are likely mediated by environmental (external) factors. This view is developing rapidly and holds much more promise and hope for prevention and treatment strategies.

Views are evolving

If you support innovative research that serves the evolving view of autism, please consider dedicating a portion of your charitable donations to N of One: Autism Research Foundation through a one time or an annual gift.

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