Susan Greenfield, head of the Royal Institution, raised concerns about social networking sites in a House of Lords debate:
"Perhaps we should therefore not be surprised that those within the spectrum of autism are particularly comfortable in the cyber world. The internet has even been linked to sign language, considered as beneficial for autistic people as sign language proved for the deaf. Of course, we do not know whether the current increase in autism is due more to increased awareness and diagnosis of autism, or whether it can—if there is a true increase—be in any way linked to an increased prevalence among people of spending time in screen relationships. Surely it is a point worth considering."But, but Susan...don't you know that people are born autistic, they don't just catch it when they're 14 and setting up a bebo account. Lolz!
I was gratified that Ben Goldacre (cutely) destroyed the argument on Newsnight.
I'd say more about how ridiculous this is but I just found a great post on Stottle's Blog and since it's so much better than anything I could write, anyone interested could pop over there to witness the notion getting a thorough smacking.