Autism Spectrum Disorders, Risk Communication, and the Problem of Inadvertent Harm

Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 23 (2):105-138 (2013)
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Abstract

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are an issue of growing public health significance. This set of neurodevelopmental disorders, which includes autistic disorder, Asperger syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), is characterized by abnormalities in one or more of the following domains: language use, reciprocal social interactions, and/or a pattern of restricted interests or stereotyped behaviors. Prevalence estimates for ASDs have been increasing over the past few decades, with estimates at ~5/10,000 in the 1960s, and current estimates as high as 1/88 (Newschaffer et al. 2007; CDC 2012).1 While ASDs encompass a wide range of phenotypes and degrees of severity, the disorders ..

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