In the December 2019 issue, discover our special feature called "Autism: A Multifaceted Disorder". Inserm’s magazine illustrates discoveries, debates and issues from the ever-evolving field of biomedical research.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder thought to affect 700,000 people in France, named after a spectrum of characteristics that first manifest in early childhood. Destined to evolve throughout life according to a developmental pathway that differs from one individual to the next, the signs of ASD–when bothersome–are likely to respond well to education and rehabilitation programs, or innovative therapies. Nowadays, the challenge we face is multifaceted. Before anything else, the factors characteristic of ASD need to be diagnosed early. Then, to guide its progression, it is necessary to have in-depth knowledge of its multiple characteristics, how they fit together, the underlying biological mechanisms, and to anticipate the distress they can cause for people with the condition and their loved ones. Finally, it is about reflecting on their fulfilment within society and more broadly on quality of life, particularly for adults… because ASD does not end at 18.