, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 197-203

Reflections on Opening Pandora’s Box

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Publishing my paper on Asperger’s syndrome in 1981, and suggesting that it is part of the autistic spectrum, has had various consequences. These include the growth of interest in the syndrome among the general public as well as professionals. Controversy over definitions of subgroups and prevalence of autistic spectrum disorders has increased. Adult psychiatrists are becoming aware that high functioning autistic disorders can underlie psychiatric conditions. Naming the condition has helped many with the syndrome to greater understanding of their skills and disabilities. It has highlighted the special contribution people with Asperger syndrome have made to the world. There has been a growth of specialist services but many more are needed. Describing and naming the syndrome has had mainly positive effects.