The topic of autism and autism spectrum disorder is one of the top topics in the media right now, and that’s thanks to the incredible work of two of the most prominent autism researchers in the world: Dr. William H. Myers and Dr. James E. Deutsch.
The two researchers are both renowned in the field of autism research, with Myers and Deutsch being among the world’s top experts on the condition.
Myers, who studies developmental disorders, is a professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan and Deutsche, who specializes in developmental neuroscience, is director of the Autism Center at Johns Hopkins University.
But when asked by Mashable why autism is still one of autism’s biggest issues, Deutsch responded that it’s not.
“I don’t think it’s that people don’t understand the importance of autism,” he said.
“It’s that they don’t want to be confronted with it.”
But autism researchers aren’t the only ones who’re not happy with the way the topic of the disorder is being talked about.
As part of their research, Deutchys team has been trying to get people to talk about autism in a more positive way.
“We are doing some research that involves kids being coached to be more open about what they have,” Deutsch said.
That’s something that Myers has been advocating.
“He’s one of my heroes,” Deutchy said.
Myers is a former senior executive at a major pharmaceutical company, and he was fired from that job in 2005 after he was found to have lied about his autism diagnosis.
He went on to work for Eli Lilly and Company, where he was one of many people who made the company pay the ultimate price for their marketing strategy that promoted autism as a “troublesome” condition that could only be managed by pharmaceutical companies.
While he was working at Lilly, he was diagnosed with autism.
But that was the end of that story.
“A lot of people didn’t want me to talk,” Myers said.
Instead, Myers found his way to Deutsch, who was then a professor at the Johns Hopkins Center for Autism Research and Development.
Deutchs team has since worked to bring awareness to autism and the autism spectrum disorders in general.
“There is a lot of misinformation out there, and it’s frustrating for me, but I’m trying to make sure that people know what we’re doing is valid,” Deuz said.
In fact, Myers is one who thinks Deutsch has a point.
“Dr. Deuz’s work is pretty important,” he told Mashable.
“If you want to do something like research that looks at the neurobiology of autism, he’s one who you’d want to consult.”
It’s a very good point.
As for Deutsch’s response, it wasn’t exactly positive.
“My response was: I’m not the most helpful person to talk to,” he explained.
Myers says that he didn’t ask Deutsch if he was happy to talk.
He did ask if he wanted to be an autism advocate.
“That’s the most important question that I asked,” Deitsch said.
He also didn’t have a problem with his team getting to know him better.
“The goal is not to have us say ‘this is wrong,’ but to help us make better decisions, so that we can help children who are on the spectrum,” Deutsch said.
It’s not just a question of asking questions, either.
As the research on autism continues, Deuchts team is working to help educate parents about the disorder.
They’ve created a website, Autism: A Parent’s Guide, which will educate parents on what it means to have a child with autism, how it affects their family, and how they can help.
Myers agrees that it can be hard to be open with his clients.
“When people are open and they’re open about their kids, then people get to be really aware of what’s going on, and they can start talking about it,” he added.
“And that’s a good thing.”