In 2014, autism was diagnosed with me. At that time I was working as a general practitioner for 11 years. I was convinced that autism is ‘a real condition’. In the sense of an ‘existing something’, a nosological entity. All the other people with an autism diagnosis then had the ‘same’ as me.
In the meantime I have come to realize that autism is not a real ‘diagnosis’ in the medical sense of the word. I have studied psychiatry and how she looked, through the decades, against autism. I read the dissertation of psychiatrist and philosopher of science Berend Verhoeff: autism’s anatomy
It became clear to me that psychiatry, in different times, has thought very differently about autism. It became clear to me that biomedical thinking is dominant in psychiatry. I gradually began to see that autism is more in the lens of our time than that it really ‘exists’ independently of us. My conclusion from mid-2017 is that autism is an impossible concept. Autism does not refer to a nosological entity. Autism is mistakenly associated with a brain disease. Due to the current, dominant, biomedical model there is undue pessimism about the course of human and children diagnosed.
There were also harmful aspects for me getting the autism diagnosis. Suddenly I would have a ‘disorder’ in the stimulus processing. And there would be something ‘wrong’ in my brain. Suddenly I was in the booth of the autists. Suddenly the others around me were ‘neurotypicals’. I have experienced how damaging this ‘diagnosis’ was for my identity. Since I myself have experienced the harmfulness of an (ASD) label, I am worried about the large scale on which children are labeled. I am worried about what this does with their sense of identity in the longer term. Since 2018 I have been writing blogs for the Dutch Association for Autism, among others about these harmful aspects.