Autism and overlapping mental disorders
By David N. Brown
This is a PUBLIC DOMAIN document (dated 8/13/09). It may be copied, forwarded,
cited, circulated or posted elsewhere. The author requests only that it not be altered
from its current form.
• AS individuals characteristically rely heavily on routines and rituals.
• Easily fixate on a specific activity or subject.
• Possible distinction in perceived significance of act
◦ In OCD, commonly perceived as matter of safety.
◦ In autism, may be seen more rationally as matter of comfort
◦ Priority for intervention should be to make sure behavior does not lead to
self-injury, damage to property or inappropriate behavior in public. Don't put
excessive pressure on an autistic person to stop a behavior that causes none
of these problems.
Attention Deficit Disorder:
◦ May manifest either as “comorbid” disorder or as secondary effect of autism
◦ In typical “public” settings (classrooms, stores, etc, etc.) “attention deficit”
symptoms are likely to manifest simply as a result of sensory stress
◦ Ritalin may be beneficial
◦ Characterized by hallucinations, delusions and disordered thought and behavior.
◦ Autistics may have comorbid schizophrenia (believed to be rare) or experience
some symptoms (esp. hallucinations) without being diagnosably schizophrenic
◦ Significant distinctions based on response to hallucination.
▪ Rejects hallucination= not delusional
▪ Responds logically to perceived reality= not disordered
▪ An individual who is delusional but still “rational” represents the greatest
potential threat to self and others
“Delusional Aspie”: Zaratustra
• Is very sensitive to light, but oblivious to pain.
• Obsessive-compulsive tendencies
• Recounts what he considers real encounters with angels and demons.
• Bases his actions, including participation in sophisticated criminal enterprises, on these
• Responds to hallucination/delusion in calm and highly organized ways
◦ Ex. Shoots at demons, keeps accurate count of how much ammo is left!
• Motivations seem bizarre or wholly incomprehensible to others.
• Is obviously intelligent, and usually articulate.
• Is often violent, but these actions are consistently “cold-blooded” in nature.
David N. Brown
David N. Brown, David N. Brown Arizona, Arizona, David N. Brown Mesa, David N. Brown Mesa Arizona, Mesa, Mesa Arizona, Mesa David N. Brown, Arizona David N. Brown, Mesa Arizona David N. Brown