I have not been a big fan of the New York Times coverage of autism issues. Specifically the NYT has downplayed the seriousness of autism disorders. It has also downplayed the evidence based effectiveness of Applied Behavior Analysis as an autism intervention while promoting non evidence based interventions like Floortime. It comes as a pleasant surprise to read a recent NYT autism feature in which experts, Dr. Fred Volkmar of the Yale Child Study Center and Dr. Lisa Wiesner, actually provided some unvarnished, truthful statements about severe, Low Functioning, autism realities even if that information was hidden under the feel good, High Functioning Autism focused title College-Bound and Living With Autism:
The exclusion of severely autistic subjects from "autism" research is something I have previously noted. The spate of recent fMRI studies mapping the alleged "autistic brain" have in fact been restricted to subjects with High Functioning Autism only.
It is very encouraging to see this frank acknowledgement by two autism experts in the New York Times of the shortchanging of low functioning autistic persons that has been taking place.
It is most encouraging to read that the US federal government has identified severe autism research as a high priority area in autism work.