Autism and the Environment 101: Online Course 1

Introduction: The New Model of Autism


Is autism best understood as a purely genetic and incurable disorder specifically targeting the brain? If so, a lot of features of autism are hard to explain. If it’s genetic, why are more people being diagnosed? If it’s a brain disorder, then what about the more systemic features, such as immune issues, gut problems, allergies and systemic metabolic changes that are so common? If it’s incurable, then why do some on the autism spectrum improve substantially? And if it’s just a “disorder,” then why are so many people with autism exquisitely talented?

This introductory course focuses on the environment for several reasons:

  • There is a significant increase in autism and no one has proved that this is totally due to artifact (increased awareness leading to more diagnoses).
  • There are a huge number of new things in our environment that could affect our health.
  • There are things we can DO about environmental risks!


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