There are few major themes from the series that I think are important to remember:
- Families whose children have autism have many of their concerns about their children routinely dismissed by mainstream medicine and are left to find their way on their own.
- Autism disrupts and changes the life of everyone it touches, not just the people who have autism. There are many, many families who restructure their entire lives to accommodate the needs of their children who have autism.
- While increased awareness, diagnostic substitution, and changing criteria undoubtedly play a role in the ever growing number of people with autism these factors alone cannot explain the increase. The number of people with autism is most likely increasing.
- There is not just one "autism" but rather many "autisms". Similarly, there is not going to be one "cause" of autism but rather many "causes" and these "causes" are going to come in the form of gene/environmental interactions.
- Finding appropriate services for your children is not easy. There are some areas with good services while most other areas have passable services, at best.
- The picture for adults living with even moderate autism isn't pretty. The majority of adults with autism are going to require major supports and are unlikely to be able to live independently.
Regardless, if you haven't watched the series I suggest that you do, it is well worth the time. The video of all six parts, along with the transcripts, are available online.
Part 1: Nick's Story
Part 2: Numbers on the Rise
Part 3: What Are the Causes?
Part 4: Challenges in Schools
Part 5: Helping Adults With Autism
Part 6: Health Policy Questions