Steve Silberman: The forgotten history of autism


Just after Christmas last year, 132 kids in California got the measles by either visiting Disneyland or being exposed to someone
who’d been there. The virus then hopped the Canadian border, infecting more than
100 children in Quebec. One of the tragic things
about this outbreak is that measles, which can be fatal
to a child with a weakened immune system, is one of the most easily
preventable diseases in the world. An effective vaccine against it has been available for more
than half a century, but many of the kids involved
in the Disneyland outbreak had not been vaccinated because their parents were afraid of something allegedly even worse: autism. But wait — wasn’t the paper
that sparked the controversy about autism and vaccines debunked, retracted, and branded a deliberate fraud by the British Medical Journal? Don’t most science-savvy people know that the theory
that vaccines cause autism is B.S.? I think most of you do, but millions of parents worldwide continue to fear that vaccines
put their kids at risk for autism. Why? Here’s why. This is a graph of autism
prevalence estimates rising over time. For most of the 20th century, autism was considered
an incredibly rare condition. The few psychologists and pediatricians
who’d even heard of it figured they would get through
their entire careers without seeing a single case. For decades, the prevalence estimates
remained stable at just three or four children in 10,000. But then, in the 1990s, the numbers started to skyrocket. Fundraising organizations
like Autism Speaks routinely refer to autism as an epidemic, as if you could catch it
from another kid at Disneyland. So what’s going on? If it isn’t vaccines, what is it? If you ask the folks down at
the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta what’s going on, they tend to rely on phrases like
“broadened diagnostic criteria” and “better case finding” to explain these rising numbers. But that kind of language doesn’t do much to allay
the fears of a young mother who is searching her
two-year-old’s face for eye contact. If the diagnostic criteria
had to be broadened, why were they so narrow
in the first place? Why were cases of autism
so hard to find before the 1990s? Five years ago, I decided to try
to uncover the answers to these questions. I learned that what happened has less to do with the slow and cautious
progress of science than it does with the seductive
power of storytelling. For most of the 20th century, clinicians told one story about what autism is
and how it was discovered, but that story turned out to be wrong, and the consequences of it are having a devastating impact
on global public health. There was a second,
more accurate story of autism which had been lost and forgotten in obscure corners
of the clinical literature. This second story tells us everything
about how we got here and where we need to go next. The first story starts with a child
psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins Hospital named Leo Kanner. In 1943, Kanner published a paper describing 11 young patients
who seemed to inhabit private worlds, ignoring the people around them, even their own parents. They could amuse themselves for hours by flapping their hands
in front of their faces, but they were panicked by little things like their favorite toy
being moved from its usual place without their knowledge. Based on the patients
who were brought to his clinic, Kanner speculated
that autism is very rare. By the 1950s, as the world’s
leading authority on the subject, he declared that he had seen
less than 150 true cases of his syndrome while fielding referrals from
as far away as South Africa. That’s actually not surprising, because Kanner’s criteria
for diagnosing autism were incredibly selective. For example, he discouraged giving
the diagnosis to children who had seizures but now we know that epilepsy
is very common in autism. He once bragged that he had turned
nine out of 10 kids referred to his office as autistic
by other clinicians without giving them an autism diagnosis. Kanner was a smart guy, but a number of his theories
didn’t pan out. He classified autism as a form
of infantile psychosis caused by cold and unaffectionate parents. These children, he said, had been kept neatly
in a refrigerator that didn’t defrost. At the same time, however, Kanner noticed that some
of his young patients had special abilities
that clustered in certain areas like music, math and memory. One boy in his clinic could distinguish between 18 symphonies
before he turned two. When his mother put on
one of his favorite records, he would correctly declare,
“Beethoven!” But Kanner took a dim view
of these abilities, claiming that the kids
were just regurgitating things they’d heard their pompous parents say, desperate to earn their approval. As a result, autism became
a source of shame and stigma for families, and two generations of autistic children were shipped off to institutions
for their own good, becoming invisible to the world at large. Amazingly, it wasn’t until the 1970s that researchers began to test
Kanner’s theory that autism was rare. Lorna Wing was a cognitive
psychologist in London who thought that Kanner’s theory
of refrigerator parenting were “bloody stupid,” as she told me. She and her husband John were warm
and affectionate people, and they had a profoundly
autistic daughter named Susie. Lorna and John knew how hard it was
to raise a child like Susie without support services, special education, and the other resources that are
out of reach without a diagnosis. To make the case
to the National Health Service that more resources were needed
for autistic children and their families, Lorna and her colleague Judith Gould decided to do something that should
have been done 30 years earlier. They undertook a study of autism
prevalence in the general population. They pounded the pavement
in a London suburb called Camberwell to try to find autistic children
in the community. What they saw made clear
that Kanner’s model was way too narrow, while the reality of autism
was much more colorful and diverse. Some kids couldn’t talk at all, while others waxed on at length
about their fascination with astrophysics, dinosaurs or the genealogy of royalty. In other words, these children
didn’t fit into nice, neat boxes, as Judith put it, and they saw lots of them, way more than Kanner’s monolithic model
would have predicted. At first, they were at a loss
to make sense of their data. How had no one noticed
these children before? But then Lorna came upon a reference
to a paper that had been published in German in 1944, the year after Kanner’s paper, and then forgotten, buried with the ashes of a terrible time that no one wanted to remember
or think about. Kanner knew about this competing paper, but scrupulously avoided
mentioning it in his own work. It had never even
been translated into English, but luckily, Lorna’s husband spoke German, and he translated it for her. The paper offered
an alternate story of autism. Its author was a man named Hans Asperger, who ran a combination clinic
and residential school in Vienna in the 1930s. Asperger’s ideas about teaching children
with learning differences were progressive even
by contemporary standards. Mornings at his clinic began
with exercise classes set to music, and the children put on plays
on Sunday afternoons. Instead of blaming parents
for causing autism, Asperger framed it as a lifelong,
polygenetic disability that requires compassionate forms
of support and accommodations over the course of one’s whole life. Rather than treating the kids
in his clinic like patients, Asperger called them
his little professors, and enlisted their help in developing
methods of education that were particularly suited to them. Crucially, Asperger viewed autism
as a diverse continuum that spans an astonishing range
of giftedness and disability. He believed that autism
and autistic traits are common and always have been, seeing aspects of this continuum
in familiar archetypes from pop culture like the socially awkward scientist and the absent-minded professor. He went so far as to say, it seems that for success
in science and art, a dash of autism is essential. Lorna and Judith realized that Kanner
had been as wrong about autism being rare as he had been about parents causing it. Over the next several years, they quietly worked with
the American Psychiatric Association to broaden the criteria for diagnosis to reflect the diversity of what
they called “the autism spectrum.” In the late ’80s and early 1990s, their changes went into effect, swapping out Kanner’s narrow model for Asperger’s broad and inclusive one. These changes weren’t
happening in a vacuum. By coincidence, as Lorna and Judith
worked behind the scenes to reform the criteria, people all over the world were seeing
an autistic adult for the first time. Before “Rain Man” came out in 1988, only a tiny, ingrown circle of experts
knew what autism looked like, but after Dustin Hoffman’s unforgettable
performance as Raymond Babbitt earned “Rain Man” four Academy Awards, pediatricians, psychologists, teachers and parents all over the world
knew what autism looked like. Coincidentally, at the same time, the first easy-to-use clinical tests
for diagnosing autism were introduced. You no longer had to have a connection
to that tiny circle of experts to get your child evaluated. The combination of “Rain Man,” the changes to the criteria,
and the introduction of these tests created a network effect, a perfect storm of autism awareness. The number of diagnoses started to soar, just as Lorna and Judith predicted,
indeed hoped, that it would, enabling autistic people
and their families to finally get the support
and services they deserved. Then Andrew Wakefield came along to blame the spike
in diagnoses on vaccines, a simple, powerful, and seductively believable story that was as wrong as Kanner’s theory that autism was rare. If the CDC’s current estimate, that one in 68 kids in America
are on the spectrum, is correct, autistics are one of the largest
minority groups in the world. In recent years, autistic people
have come together on the Internet to reject the notion that they
are puzzles to be solved by the next medical breakthrough, coining the term “neurodiversity” to celebrate the varieties
of human cognition. One way to understand neurodiversity is to think in terms
of human operating systems. Just because a P.C. is not running Windows
doesn’t mean that it’s broken. By autistic standards,
the normal human brain is easily distractable, obsessively social, and suffers from a deficit
of attention to detail. To be sure, autistic people
have a hard time living in a world not built for them. [Seventy] years later, we’re still
catching up to Asperger, who believed that the “cure”
for the most disabling aspects of autism is to be found in understanding teachers, accommodating employers, supportive communities, and parents who have faith
in their children’s potential. An autistic [man]
named Zosia Zaks once said, “We need all hands on deck
to right the ship of humanity.” As we sail into an uncertain future, we need every form
of human intelligence on the planet working together to tackle
the challenges that we face as a society. We can’t afford to waste a brain. Thank you. (Applause)

Comments 100

  • Aspys run the modern world.

  • Also how does a disease grow over 300% in less than 20 years. Just like aids this disease has no origin one can only speculate.

  • As an autistic, I want to thank you for giving this talk.

    Autism is not a disease, nor is it an epidemic or a threat to society. Any attempt to cure it is a waste of scientific time and energy. We'd love some help with some of the more difficult symptoms, for sure, but 90% of the problems that ALL autistics face (regardless of 'severity') are steeped in society's inability to adapt and accommodate autism on a daily basis.

    We need to teach society about the things that make us different–stimming, special interests–and collectively learn how to deeply change what it means to be autistic in today's world. Not the autism itself. Simply how we as a group are treated.

  • jesus he made that tie into a noose

  • I work with people with special needs and autists, great video. Very interesting! 🙂

  • Very well constructed overview!  Thanks, Silberman!

  • Awesome!

  • Nah mercury on a childs brain from a vaccine couldent possibely cause autism..the brain loves mercury..my grandson was way ahead of his developement until the mercury in his vaccines changed him..There is NO autism in religions that dont vaccinate……nice try buddie

  • just because its here  on Youtube doesnt mean its true..the government puts out such STORIES all the time…the brain doesnt need the chemicals and poisons in vaccines..the non vaccinated dont get these diseases….they put out false measles scare stories all the time ..like the false whopping cough breakout in washington…all lies.

  • Everyone loves to pretend they're so special, that's what's happening…

  • Flounder has done well for himself since Animal House …

  • regardless, I believe in freedom of choice when deciding to vaccinate or not, if we lose that right it will be time to leave a America or fight

  • This video is very interesting. My only criticism is that I believe that this speaker doesn't mention race and gender in autism diagnosis. We're just starting to realize that autism appears in girls differently. Also, there are still many people who believe autism is a "young white boy thing" and because of it, there are many girls and people who aren't white who are misdiagnosed. This video is still very good though. I like that he mentions the neurodiversity movement.

    Also, he's writing a book much more in depth about this called "Neurotribes". I believe it comes out in August of this year, so if you're interested in this, you might want to check out the book!

  • For anyone who has recently had a child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Hurry and listen to this whole talk.  You can save a lot of mental and emotional energies if you hear what Steve has to say.  He gives you a historical map that will quickly place you in the here and now. More parents and teachers need to see this video to clarify their ideas around autism.

  • THANK YOU!!! Common, common , common. Yes yes yes!!!

  • A great book to read is Aspergirls by Rudy Simone, about this topic.

  • Amish children (that are not adopted & and already received vaccines) do not get autism. EVER! The reason for this…. None of them get vaccines!

  • The cure for being 200 lbs over weight. Stop eating so many bacon cheeseburgers. Go vegan!

  • Autism is cause by vaccines. I know people who uses 4chan a lot and they are really autistic.

  • this guy mixes and matches his misinformation pretty good. another  pharma shill or just another idiot?

  • Unless you have autism or are an autism parent you don't understand… open your mind and listen. Those who make rude or "educated" negative comments have no idea what we go thru each day.

  • I think there are STILL a lot of older adults with high functioning autism, out there who don't even know they have a disorder. Unfortunately, they're still being ignored. Autism has always existed. I don't know why people have such a hard time accepting that. Just watch the 1959 Twilight Zone episode "Time Enough at Last," the one with Burgess Meredith as the bank teller who survives the nuclear blast. Tell me that's not a depiction of a man with Asperger's Syndrome.
    They can't know the true rate of autism unless and until they know how many people in ALL age groups are currently affected. No one really seems to ever say anything about reaching out to the senior citizen autistic population, to both help them and to find out their true numbers. A lot of older autistic adults, and their families as well, could really use the recognition and support.

  • Well, that talk completely earned my tapping the thumbs up. It debunked myths & negativity, and it ended on a lovely positive ~~~~(^.^)/~~~~ worth the watch, if i were on my laptop instead phone i'd be sharing it to facebook for everyone to find & watch. Its nice as an Autistic person to see a talk that mentions the feelings & views & words of the neurodiverse community.

  • Great talk, especially about the need for diversity.
    I wonder what the world would look like if Autism were the norm. I wonder what therapies would be in place for the not normal.

  • This lie again? Too many people are still buying it though.
    I wonder what would be the rate that people would start
    asking question. 1 out of 10 kids? maybe not even then.

  • First off, I have to say in all honesty with apologies to sounding superficial, I can't trust anybody bloated and completely unhealthy looking giving me any sort of health/psychological information. It just makes me think they dont take care of themselves properly, and perhaps do the opposite of care. Secondly, hasn't he ever heard the saying "if you met one person with autism, you met one person with autism". They are not all Rainman. Up until about 25 years ago they were diagnosing most autistics as schizophrenics. A friend has a 40 something year old cousin who the family still thinks is schizophrenic but likely has autism because he didnt get properly diagnosed. Its sad. And quite frankly, psychiatry is a joke, unless you need valium, I suggest stay away. There is a rise in what they call 'autism', and there likely is an environmental factor. If you can't see that you're not looking around. Perhaps Aspergers has been here without being diagnosed properly but autism is a spectrum and its getting wider now. You are talking about kids 10, 11, 14 years old who are not using the toilet and not having any productive conversation while the parents are doing everything desperately trying to reach them. I don't believe in the history of this earth a parent has ever given up on a child that they truly loved on the result of what some silly doctor told them. There is a rise in this population. Stop blowing it off.

  • Excellent and important Talk, Steve! As a teacher, I believe this is essential viewing. Thanks for your time and effort. Big hugs, friend.

  • This is the story that too few people know, and too few understand. We, as humans, prefer simple stories, simple problems and simple solutions. Reality tends not to give us this, and so we cling to the first explanation that does.
    It's time we gave it up, and realized that the autism spectrum is not something new, and it is not something bad.

    Autism should not be cured. As he says: We cannot afford to waste a brain.

  • I would like to see someone do a study on the number of kids who haven't been vaccinated, but who have been diagnosed with autism. Has anyone crunched those numbers?  The results would be very telling.

    If the number of unvaccinated kids with autism is statistically on par with the number of vaccinated kids with autism, then that would be strong evidence that vaccinations do not cause autism.

    Conversely, if the number of unvaccinated autistic is lower than the general population, that would be a significant finding.

  • No mention of MERCURY or SQUALENE !
    Why should we inject these alongside the actual vaccine?  People are right to not want such toxins injected into themselves or their children.

  • Good work sir, nice talk.

  • This is very interesting. I love how human kind has really bekond into a far far better place

  • This is a TED talk????  Who is ordering the Kool-Aid?  We are supposed to believe that because Asperger found a group of creative kids and "a little bit of autism" in scientists and artist that we shouldn't treat this epidemic as the family/society/life sadness/tragedy/illness that it is?  Yes, some people on the spectrum can be creative millionaires.  Others are never potty trained or are so aggressive against their parents or themselves that they have to be institutionalized.  SHAME ON YOU.  Look around, people.  When you were kids, the world looked different.  One in 12 people has a learning disability now.  1 in 69 kids have autism.  If you don't think this will change our whole society, you are sadly, tragically wrong.  We need to be looking at autism epidemiologically as the insidious thing it is instead of as big business.

  • Brilliant talk. Thank you Mr. Silberman.

  • His book "NeuroTribes" is even better! Do check it out everyone. 🙂

  • Excellent talk. We do certainly need "all hands on deck". I have found in too many school districts that administrators are literally paid to pull services and deem kids "no longer autistic" simply for the sake of saving the districts money. Too many of these administrators care nothing about the students they are responsible for serving and have another agenda. What ends up happening is teachers and other personnel who are untrained and uneducated about the unique learning styles and needs of children with autism end up unable to provide the proper education. The trend in schools to pull services just for the sake of saving money has got to stop. We have to continue to invest in research and training so these kids can get the education they deserve and reach their full potential.

  • Look, I don't buy that vaccines cause measles either, but this measles alarmism is just as dumb. Measles CAN be deadly…very very rarely. But none of the kids died from this outbreak. It's very treatable, especially in the US. And it really hasn't been a fatality issue for decades.

  • The more I learn about autism the more I hate those kind of people on the Internet who make fun of it.

  • Who gives a TED Talk and reads the entire thing?

  • My son is on the spectrum; he has PDD-NOS. When Mr. Silberman spoke about the hyperfocusing on music and math by some autistic kids and adults, it was as if he was describing my son, who taught himself to read and write music with full notation by the age of 7 when he composed his first concerto. I have saved some of his 1st and 2nd grade essays in which he overwhelmingly chose to write biographical stories about his favorite classical composers, for which he had a deep affection. One essay that he wrote about Edvard Grieg read, "I wish he was still alive so I could live with him in my house", haha! He has an enormous gift for music and it brings him so much joy. The music he still creates now at age 13 brings the rest of our family a lot of joy as well.

    Raising a child on the autism spectrum has been a challenge for sure, but I wouldn't change him for a second if it meant giving up these profound gifts. He is an amazing person! I am a very lucky mom. 🙂 ♡

  • gay jews are cool

  • yeah but he's a pedophile.

  • Sure, we can find something people with autism are good at. Fine. But saying that employers and society should adapt to disabled people is wishful thinking. He could have phrased it in a much better way like "we should find a way to make people with autism as profitable as the average human slave who works for the average company".

  • You had my 52 YEAR OLD BLACK FEMALE FROM BROOKLYN CLASSIC BRILLIANT NATURALLY AUTISTIC MIND, ENGAGED, UNTIL YOU SOFT-KILLED MY INTELLECT with the rainman paradigm! RAINMAN SUCKS!!!!!!! Next …….

  • "Autism Is The New Normal"~ Copyright (c) 2016 by PE CHANDLER. All Rights Reserved. Film coming Summer 2017.

  • If people would actually take the time to read the vaccine inserts you would see that they warn that it may cause autism. Also, billions have been rewarded to families whom had children injured by vaccines. And the jokes on you because there's a special tax on vaccinations you pay just to pay these billions of dollars in these vaccine courts which have special masters presiding instead of judges. Welcome to generation X. AKA gen crossed or AKA the cursed generation.

  • The issue with Autism Speaks is that they are interested in trying to find a cure but they could be using all that time to figure out where one could get resources

  • Wow, this one is a great one!

  • Personally I'm neither pro nor anti vaccination, but seriously, I wish parents of kids with ASD could recognise that the sociological and psychological theories which explain the alleged rise in autism are like a trillion times more viable than the 0% of medical literature and studies out there directly linking the same.

  • It has not been proven that vaccines or their adjuvants are not a cause of Autism. CDC confirmed that the thimerosol in vaccines given in the US causes neurological tics (which is a prominent sign of Austism). One of CDC's top vaccine scientists, William Thompson, PhD, says he and other CDC scientists fraudulently tried to hide a very strong correlation between MMR vaccine and autism in their seminal 2004 paper on which he was lead author. Check out videos on YouTube on William Thompson and the documentary film Vaxxed.

    The science is not yet settled on this issue. Even the late NIH director Bernadine Healy said that CDC was prematurely claiming the science was settled. And if she had just kept her mouth shut, she could have had a plum job at a drug company that would pay $10Ms a year, like Julie Gerberding did. She was staggeringly disincentived to make this statement. You better believe she made sure she was right, backwards and forwards. Please keep an open mind on this issue (but not so open your brain falls out, of course) 🙂 ; there's too much at stake to prematurely shut down any valid line of inquiry.

    I have no dog in this fight. I have just looked at the science.

  • Vaccinations may not directly cause autism, but one thing for sure ~~> mercury, formaldehyde, aluminum, live viruses and god knows what else DOES NOT improve the immune system, making some "autistic" traits into a pathology.  Screw up the nervous system and all kinds of hellish things show up.  I would just as soon have my child's arm cut off, or mine, than receive any kind of vaccinations until proven safe!!!!!

  • This is a very dark corner of the mental health industry we are starting to see go on under our nose for decades it has consumed countless lives.

    I love Steve's work and I just made a short video on how society in general, families and the mental health industry have misunderstood autism for schizophrenia.

  • elements os autism are also found in fragile X and Rhett syndrome,PKU,tuberous sclerosis,Angelman syndrome.Those with mild autism are the ones who are the eccentrics,the mirthless,flat personalities,unable to adapt socially,avoiding eye contact but possess some unusual aptitudes.rapin uses the term semantic-pragmatic disorder to describe the language affection.NICE TALK.

  • wait, did he just call me a macintosh computer?

  • HELLO everyone! I know most people who come here are people who care for individuals who have Autism. Just wanna share my online cause. You might want to share your blessings this Christmas and help students with AUTISM
    PLEASE PLEASE check out this link (or you can share it on your FB): https://www.youcaring.com/autismclassinsurigaocity-680962
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  • For American's: "Aww-sperger's". Even this "expert" is calling it something close to "Assburgers".

  • I wonder you watch Star Trek. Perhaps, Autistic people are really Vulcans.

  • as an autistic LGBTQ+ person who comes from a long line of autistic adhd people, this is amazing.

  • best Ted talk on Autism that I've heard.

  • what do you expect when you don't vaccinate your children? while I agree it is great that huge steps have been taken in this field of study. Sadly I mostly see it as people using it as an excuse for their children to act up in public. Perhaps if your child can't act right take him away from the situation not everybody wants to hear your teen scream and cry like a toddler. I mostly see adults using this as an excuse not to work and act like idiots. What makes this even worse people expect the tax payers to pay their way through life. I can't wait for Trump to shut down Obama care and aca. I'm sorry if your child has a mental or medical condition that is your responsibility not everyone else's.

  • Sounds like the real story is that vaccinations have been causing all kinds of health and mental health problems for decades and better reporting/diagnosis has been responsible for exposing the extent of the problem. I'm not impressed by any organization that investigates themselves and finds 'no problem'…

  • believe what you want to. ANYONE who was alive before 1980 knows the difference in the number of kids with autism, kids with allergies, kids with chronic neurologic issues now vs. then. It is an epidemic. Meanwhile there has not been epidemics of measles, mumps, polio for decades and decades. 100 children getting measles does not constitute an epidemic. look up the definition. Nobody who got measles in the U.S. or Canada died last year. yet lives, families, marriages, livlihoods are ruined by autism. If there was autism before then where are all the 60 and 70 year olds with autism? they are non existent. It is not just a neurologic "difference". it is likely due to many toxins including but not limited to heavy metals, vaccines, food additives such as dyes, glyphosate and GMO foods. Yes there is a genetic predisposition to getting ill effects of toxins. Especially people with these genetics who 1. get all the vaccines 2. eat GMO/processed foods and 3. have other exposures to toxins depending on where they live or what their parents occupation is. Just because nobody called it autism in the 1960s does not mean that all the cases now are due to diagnosis. Doctors who specialize in autism do not always have success in treating it, but they have seen many many children come out of an autism diagnosis, myself included. If you don't want to look for answers, get out of the fight and out of the way.

  • I don't believe vaccines 'cause' autism. There is, however, a link between autism and autoimmunity, and vaccines and autoimmunity. It doesn't seem possible for a vaccine to change your whole neurotype since that's such a profound part of a person, but if certain vaccines can increase the level of inflammation in the body (which some sources suggest is possible), the stress this causes to the body might make it harder to 'pass' as neurotypical if you were already autistic. Autistic people often have very sensitive immune systems, so it's more likely a vaccine would affect us adversely anyway. Ongoing inflammation can really drain your energy, and autistic people who are burnt out/lack energy don't have as much capacity to tolerate sensations we find grating, so the signs of autism are more visible. It sucks that there's such a stigma that goes along with being neurodiverse – it makes it near impossible to have a nuanced conversation about a topic like this. Vaccines are already a divisive topic without adding mainstream, pathologised ideas about autistic people into the mix.

  • I enjoy Steve Siberman's presentation style a lot. It is straightforward but still engaging. I am very much looking forward to reading Neurotribes.

  • I read his book, but didn't recognize his name until the end. I'd definitely recommend Neurotribes

  • Steve, I your wording on "Human Operating Systems," is very similar to my words for people with autism who learn how to do things that one on the spectrum can do and not what they can't.

  • There are many respected doctors in Autistic community (many of them practice DAN) who believe that MMR vaccine should only be prescribed for kids with perfectly healthy immune system at the time of vaccination. Meaning that a full spectrum of blood tests need to be performed to determine current state of child's health. Otherwise, it has been proven that MMR vaccine (or some traces of it – measles, rubella …) can cause harm to the one year old and eventually go undetected by immune system – will lead to neurological damages – autism symptoms.

  • High functioning autism is bullshit

  • e d g y

  • Autism is simply psychologists saying "Doctors haven't clarified the cause so we're just going to ignore scientists, group these neurological symptoms together, and call it autism." It's an ignorant practice.

  • This guy is misinformed. Glyphosate is one of the main contributors of autism. The Pearson Correlation is .99 Glyphosate opens the blood brain barrier, which allows toxins from vaccines and environmental influences to enter the brain. I have a friend who is the head of a major school district whose family member became autistic after a vaccine. He's completely convinced of a link.

  • Interesting how my comment which was a quote from a board certified medical professional eith decades of experience was removed/censored yet any type of unsubstantiated pro vaccine propaganda is allowed to remain in the comments. Great job Ted talks, it's obvious who owns you.

  • The neurotypical brain is like Windows operating system. I like that analogy. Maybe the autistic brain is like Linux (also of better quality to get things done in the computer science and technology fields). 😉

  • Thank goodness for Hans Asperger.

  • People that insist that "Vaccines can't cause Autism" should tell these 263 parents in the video linked at the bottom. Tell them it's genetic, even though there is no such thing as a genetic epidemic. Tell them it is somehow their fault, even though the national vaccine injury compensation program (VICP) has paid out over 3.5 billion dollars for various vaccine injuries. It has paid out this amount even though the system is set up to make it as difficult as possible and take a minimum of 3 years to collect a max $250,000 award. Tell them that injecting toxins at many times the EPA and FDA limits directly into the body and bypassing natural protections couldn't possibly have any negative outcomes. Tell them it is just coincidence, even though the loss of function and the descent into Autism began within hours of vaccinations in some cases. Tell them that only antibiotics, anesthetics, or allergens can cause bad reactions, all vaccines are "safe and effective" for everyone at the same age, dose and combination. Tell them it's just coincidence that the vaccine package insert says Autism like symptoms can be caused by some of the toxic ingredients listed on the Vaccine Package Insert. Tell them that there have been no studies linking Autism to vaccines, even though CDC whistleblower William Thompson released a study showing a 340% increase in autism in black males following the MMR in an Atlanta study. Tell them it doesn't mean anything that the US Supreme Court agreed with the Congressional classification of vaccines as "unavoidably unsafe". Why not tell them they are just stupid anti-vaxxers, even though they just took their child in to be vaccinated. Someone needs to tell them because they obviously still think "vaccines can and do cause Autism". https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJpPObXpZncOfT0bG2ghgkVb2Nxjd_bNe
    You can find more information on the CDC Whistleblower William Thompson at https://youtu.be/s399zKsL0aQ Or. https://youtu.be/sGOtDVilkUc Or by watching the movie "Vaxxed". http://vaxxedthemovie.com/stream/

  • Hi, I'm an autistic person who studies human behavior. These have been my observations of wbat is autism based on my own experiences and speaking to other autistic persons.

    Autism is a different way the brain can be "wired". Some observations may lead an outside observer to think one way, but without the rest of the context it can be very misleading. People with autism take in more information from their surroundings. While doing some activity the neurotypical person (not autistic) may take some time to process said activity and some of their surroundings, an autistic person takes in everything around them that is going on while doing an activity. Take eating lunch in cafeteria for example; while sitting with their friends a neurotypical person will be eating food, talking with their friends, and listening to what they are saying while an autistic person will be doing the same while taking in every sound difference in their friends voice, eye movement, body language, and doing all of these things with anything they also see and hear. Because of that a delay in time to respond may occur as they are taking in and processing more information before they can respond. A lot of autistic people also have Sensory Processing Disorder, which is a disorder that manifest itself in such a way that the individual with it processes their senses either more dramatically or less. For example, take the cafeteria example again; the autistic may be hearing every noise and conversation at once in that room and the lights may be fine for some people and so bright for an autistic person it is physically painful. This can get overwhelming as all of this stimulus can be too much. Stimulus is any information gathered by any of your 7 primary senses: sight, touch, hearing, smell, taste, proprioceptive (sense of where you are in space and movement), and vestibular (sense of balance). While these are external stimuli, internal stimuli can affect an autistic person in the same way; internal stimulus being things such as stress or anxiety to name a few. It is important to let an autistic person know how they live and process information is normal and fine, there is nothing wrong with them. They are perfectly normal people, just with a nerotype that isn't typical. Too much can cause a meltdown sometimes, or a shutdown. A shutdown is straightforward as they just shutdown like a computer and need to rebute away from all that stimulus. A meltdown is when the autistic person goes into a fight or flight response, where they will act accordingly as does anyone when their subconscious feels threatened. Keep in mind, too much stimulus is painful, and be drastically so. You could say that a shutdown is when the fight or flight response goes so extreme they freeze. To combat all of this stimulus an autistic person needs to do one of two things, and may sometimes need help doing them: 1.) Remove the negative stimulus, say like going somewhere darker or quieter 2.) Stim. Stimming can be with any of the 7 primary senses as it replaces bad information, or stimulus, with good. This may be repeating some sound, rocking back or forth, touching some textured object, or hand flapping. These are just a tiny few examples of stimming. Stimming is good stimulus, so an autistic person may stim sometimes just because it feels good to do so with no other reason or maybe to express themselves as is natural and feels good to them. Sometimes when an autistic person has too much negative stimulus they may become nonverbal, or in other words may not be able to talk or use their words. Sometimes they may still be able to make sounds, write, or communicate in some other alternative fashion. Some autistic people take in more stimulus than other autistic people, and can be prone to experiencing more meltdowns and being nonverbal. Nonverbal occurs when the mind and body has to divert resources to dealing with other tasks. An autistic person may normally not be nonverbal but become so during a meltdown or when overwhelmed. Sometimes instead of being nonverbal, there might be a stutter instead. An autistic person has a certain amount of “spoons” they have for every day. Spoons the resources (mentally, emotionally, physically) you can use to do some task. Some days you may have more spoons, and other days you may feel like you none. Getting up out of bed cost spoons, dressing oneself cost spoons, brushing your teeth, showering, eating breakfast, going to work, going to class, anything you do cost some amount of spoons; with little resources of spoons available, you may only be able to accomplish only a few tasks, and that is perfectly okay. Sometimes a task can cost a lot of spoons, and sometimes the same task may cost more spoons than other times. Sometimes looking at a person's face or communicating with someone can be difficult. Communication is like a dance, and can be very difficult to follow. There are 3 ways of communication: what is said, how it is said, and body language. A person's face goes through a lot of changes over a short period of time to reflect how they are feeling, and looking at a person while talking can take a lot of spoons at time. It can be very overwhelming to try to pick up on a lot of cues people have in any form of communication. A lot of times an autistic person may only focus on one form of communication, if any, to be able to communicate. Communication in of itself (talking, listening, changes in subject) yet alone looking at some, taking in all the noise, and light, among some many things happening at once can be too much. If things feel that way, that everything is overwhelming, it is okay to remove yourself from that situation or choose not to be there in the first place. There is nothing wrong in taking care of yourself.

  • Good read …. "Neurotribes".

  • I think also, people with autistic traits are finding more like themselves and breeding more. At first in cities, where all the science geeks sit together; then even more on the internet.

  • I am early!;DD

  • These parents should be denyed parental rights.

  • This was a beautifully informative speech with a lot of facts neatly delivered in a short time. I will take this with me into my career

  • I have always had a suspicion that I was not diagnosed with autism as a child because I had epilepsy. I was born in 1963 and lived in Northumberland and London and autism was not heard of in the 60's 70's and earlier as my mother was a paediatric and general state registered nurse and it did not any of her many medical books as I used to read them as a child. I was only diagnosed at the age of 51 (still diagnosed with epilepsy) in 2014. As a child in the 70's, I would go to a child guidance clinic in Stratford in East London but never was told why.

  • Autism speaks is a poor site to source when it comes to autism, they want it gone when autistics don't want it gone. It would be like getting information on Donald trump from someone like Bernie sanders you'd get a bias in Bernie favour

  • Andrew Wakefield is still about hame exposed the truth and that's where he went wrong it was never debunked

  • Dr. William Thompson from the fucking CDC. Do your homework and look him up. This guy is such a fuckwit

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPHZFQFpZrYIgnoring facts is not the way to discuss this topic.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1646939/

  • This is so true, thank you!
    We're no less no more inteligent, we just have a slightly different inteligence. But, if undiagnosed, it can ruin a person's life, because in most cases they don't know how to copy and are severely punished for little things. We're hundreds of millions of people, in almost every extended family, neighbourhood, school, big company etc. Many of us have been lucky to have support. But many other's don't, and they end up living a substandard life: marginalized, unemployed or subemployed, even homeless or dead. And that costs billions of dollars a year for rich and poor countries. And yet, the solution is so incredibly easy: we just need undestanding and open mindedness about stupid things; we don't even need your tax or company money (as it's the case with most other dissabilities), only that you understand our excentricities at school, universities and all kinds of jobs. Quite often we are more right than you, other times is otherwise; but, in any case, most of the time we just need normal people to be more flexible, to relax the norms and set aside preconceptions, specially when those norms are objectively unnecessarily narrow. If these little things change, if these mental frameworks broaden a little bit, our potential as family members, workers and members of society would unleash. This would make dozens of millions of families happier in a couple of decades, GDP per capita levels (not growth rates) in every country in the world will shift up a little bit (which is trillions of dollars worldwide in a decade), and fill the world with new small and big ideas that will make it richer, more colourful and more happy. All of that practically for free.

  • Why do we think that autism and brain damage was done to my grandson who is now 21 because the vaccine company published a paper saying that it caused schizencephaly or cleft brain the MMR vaccine we don't wonder if he was injured by a vaccine we know he was injured by vaccine because he has schizencephaly or clef brain caused by a vaccine weed are not guessing about it is true vaccines do cause autism and worse brain damage.

  • This this was a well-ordered very professional admirable lecture it brought up some interesting points. But a certain percentage of autistic children probably a large percentage are injured by a huge vaccine schedule or buy one vaccine such as the one that had mercury in it that ate away of my grandsons brain and gave him brain vacancies gave him cerebral palsy made him legally blind and he's now 21 10 years after the vaccine the vaccine published that those vaccines have mercury in them called thermal Marisol now that caused brain damage. This man is great in the fact that he wants to understand autism but he's wrong when he says vaccines do not enter children they do and he belittles the hundreds of thousands of parents who say vaccines injured your children if he had a child that got vaccine injured he would know it and it's wrong to ignore the parents that know as their children's representative that one day their brain was burned up by a vaccine

  • They are the night watch , there is nothing wrong with autistic people, Nature has programmed there brains to work better at night than during the day, they sense things we cannot , so they sense danger before we do, they allow us to sleep, the day brains, it seems a shame that we cannot ever met on the same level, or maybe we can, hmm what changes consciousness, ? What makes brains communicate differently ? imagine if autistic are like level 4 and day brains are level 5. if only there was a way to meet at say level 8, and share the same mental state for a short while..
    God bless the child that rings that bell, it may only have one good ring, baby you cant tell, one watch by night one watch by day, and if you get confused listen to music play

  • Why would anyone waste a brain, doesn't everyone know how delicious they are? /s But seriously folks, with the pervasive aspect, the sheer numbers how about do a more comprehensive study, like comparing the incidence in multiple cultures, especially those living modern life styles in homes where bacterial exposure as changed to chemical exposure from our diets, building materials and everything else we are now exposed to. Can we at least answer the question of if it is getting worse?

  • wifi & microwaves are behind autism too.

  • Bravo! This video needs to be broadcasted on national TV in prime time. Maybe then we wouldn't be approaching a new epidemic of measles in our country. People's ignorance dates back to the dark ages where natural occurring events were branded as miracles, witchcraft & curses. Why isn't our government taking a stand for the scientific facts about autism? I remember attending a motorcycle rally in Aiken, SC for autism awareness back in the mid 80s. There was one young child there diagnosed with autism. Now, look at the spread of autism! It reminds me of the ignorance that surrounded Aids, HIV and other mystery diseases. This isn't the dark ages and parents need to educate themselves instead of following quack reports from non-professionals.

  • New interview with Steve https://youtu.be/EvrR5-3_zAY

  • Im happy to see so many intelligent people watching this presentation. He is correct in his speech.

  • There's so much stuff like that which goes unnoticed or untecognized. Maladaptive daydreaming is one of my favourite examples. At the time I suffered from it, it didn't even have a name… so noone knew how to help, nor could they properly diagnose me.

  • 1/68 ppl in alot

  • Autism is not the same as brain damage. You are born with autism. Brain damage happens when you get a shot (vaccine) and it damages your brain so the symptoms of autism seem like the same symptoms of brain damage. Children who are brain damaged due to the shots were perfectly healthy and normal prior to the shots. The shots cause encephalitis in children due to the poor manufacturing standards that the manufacturers have (like in most cases in China where it is cheaper to produce vaccines). Encephalitis causes brain swelling and therefore brain damage. See the Corvelva reports. If people really did their research they would understand that vaccines were created by the deep state for depopulation purposes. Vaccines are dangerous and ineffectual and furthermore because of the DNA and RNA contamination of vaccines by the substrates used in manufacturing them, they are potentially mutagenic affecting not just the present generation but future generations to come. That is why vaccine inserts have Section 13.1 which states the following: 13.1 Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
    [vaccine name here] has not been evaluated for carcinogenic or mutagenic potential, or for impairment of fertility.

  • It is simply more recognised now. Years ago asylums were filled with children who had mental problems. There was no name for it. There was no diagnosis for the various types of autism. It existed but was thought to be schizophrenia, epilepsy, brain damage and so on. Many were loved but not understood. In the day, it was all they could do. Now, we have understanding and information. I have a 5-year-old grandson with Asperger's. He's smart, reads like a high-schooler, knows complex math and loves music. He's not mentally disabled, he's just a little different and this syndrome goes back millennia. Stop blaming vaccines. Grow up and accept that this is just one of those things that occur in the complex physiology that makes up human beings and diagnosis is far easier and more recognised nowadays.

  • Hans Asperger cooperated with the Nazis and sent autistic children to their deaths. I'm a french autistic person and everyone in France says "Asperger" instead of "autistic". I hate being associated with this monster. No one should be called "Asperger's". And no one should call Hans Asperger progressive.

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