Is autism a disease? Does it need to be treated or prevented?
Does it even matter?
At age 3, my son was non verbal, struggled to communicate, was visibly frustrated with the world as a result, and was prone to violent behaviour. At age 16, he's in all regular high school classes, consistently ranks in the top percentile in national math competitions, speaks out eloquently against violent video games, and I just watched him stand up for a brilliant saxophone solo with his high school jazz band. And he has friends.
What made this difference? Proven effective treatment. ABA. Slow, consistent, patient progress over 13 years. Government funding.
Having a diagnosis just helped us get through the bureaucracy, so we could get on with helping our kid. So if you ask me whether autism is a disorder or a disease, or whether it should be labeled PDD or whatever - I don't care. It's not about trying to fix or cure someone autism is and always will be part of who he is, that brilliant creative gentle soul of his - it's about helping them to relate to the world around them.
And isn't that what being a parent is all about?