I just got hold of the same-named 2007 paper by Luke Beardon – and it’s a great, great read.
It raises so many excellent points and is a succinct and thorough approach, in my opinion.
In my experience I would not contest that [challenges particular to autism] causes difficulties for the individual and family. But, having said that, what about the counter-side to this: the honesty, the straight talking, the saying what they think as opposed to making things up, the very genuine nature found in so many individuals with autism? What about all of the extraordinary qualities rife within the population, the attention to detail, perfectionism, drive, and focus? I would say that the only reason we use the term disorder is because there are more NT (neurotypical) people than there are people with autism. What we should be talking about is difference, not disorder; we should be recognising that just because a person with autism develops differently it is not automatically a negative state (i.e. ‘disorder’) but a difference that needs acknowledgement.
You really should download the paper yourself and read it, if you haven’t already.