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Mental Disorder: Autism and Learning Disabilities - Private Notice Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:20 pm on 5th November 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Browning Baroness Browning Conservative 3:20 pm, 5th November 2019

In support of what the noble Lord, Lord Touhig, and the noble Baroness said—we greatly welcome her chairmanship of the review—there is a very good reason for removing autism as a mental disorder: it is not a mental disorder. It is as simple as that, although it is true that people with autism, including children, will have comorbidities and will develop a mental health condition on top of their autism. I do not know whether the Minister understands my frustration, but I have been raising this issue in Parliament for nearly 28 years. The real problem is that we do not have sufficient psychiatrists who understand and can differentiate between autistic behaviour and what they believe to be psychotic behaviour. Once patients start the spiral of medication for psychosis, the autism disappears and the person disappears altogether.