We responded and sent a letter to The Times, which was printed on Saturday, 10 February. Please read below.

Mike Shooter believes that parents: “like a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome because it’s something you can boast about’ (Autism is vastly over-diagnosed, 8th February). At the National Autistic Society, we know that is far from the truth. Most parents in fact know that being autistic – including having Asperger syndrome – means facing considerable challenges in life. 4 in 10 autistic children have been illegally excluded from school. Only 16% of autistic people are in full-time employment, despite most wanting to work. And the average wait from the first time a parent asks for help to an actual diagnosis is 3.5 years. Far from the over-diagnosis that Dr Shooter suggests, a diagnosis is often the only hope parents and children have of getting a half-decent education with teachers who understand their condition and challenges.” 

Sarah Lambert, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, National Autistic Society