Professor David Skuse discusses the problems in defining a threshold between normal behavior and autistic behavior.
The question is, could there possibly be a threshold between normal behavior and autistic behavior, could it be that there is a leap, as it were, in severity between what we see in the normal population and what we see in the autistic population?
All the evidence we have today is that it isn’t the case. It is a matter of degree. But beyond a certain point, your autistic symptomatology, which means, essentially, your difficulty in reading other people’s social cues, your difficulty in communicating with other people, your problems in integrating with other people socially and reading other people’s social cues, reading their minds, if you like, these become so severe that they become socially handicapping. So, they become so severe that you’re not able to play a normal role in society and you may not care about that, you may actually feel very unhappy about it. That is the sort of balance that we are trying to discover, how severe do these symptoms have to be before they become a problem for you?