08:30 – 12:15 (Estimated time: 3 3/4 hours)
Rationality: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or just autism, today summarizing several previous different diagnoses (infantile autism, Asperger syndrome, atypical autism, pervasive developmental disorders not otherwise classified [PDD-NOS]) is heterogenous in causes and individual presentation. Genetic factors are strong in its etiology but even environmental factors play in (Vorstman et al., 2017; Bölte et al., 2019a). ASD is today diagnosed in about 1% of the general population across many low- and middle-income countries and frequently accompanied by psychiatric disorders (e.g. anxiety, depression) other physical complications (e.g. neurological or gastrointestinal issues) (Simonoff et al., 2008; Pan et al., 2021). Many functional impairments in different areas of life (e.g. school, work) might be present, with a risk of low well-being, quality of life and premature mortality (Bölte et al., 2019b, Hirvikoski et al., 2016, Jonsson et al., 2017). ASD is of neurodevelopmental origin, a result of altered neurological architecture, function or maturation of the brain and central nervous system. Although ASD is not a disease, but an expression of neurodiversity, it comes with increased risk for mental and somatic disorders and social exclusion (Bölte et al., 2021). In the dominating diagnostic systems of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-5) and the World Health Organization (ICD-11), ASD is defined by qualitative difficulties in social communication and interaction along repetitive, restricted behaviors and sensory processing alterations. However, this definition is limited in terms of conveying the comprehensiveness and multifaceted nature of autism, particularly how autistic people themselves experience the phenomenon.
Thus, this module aims to provide a better insight into the complexity and many faces of autism. The modules contain information on autistic experiences, thinking, perceptions, as well as co-occurring issues, the formal view of autism in biomedicine, a list of misconceptions of autism, an overview of the causes of autism and its occurrence with other conditions.