Excellent panel discussion by the La Trobe University Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre (OTARC) with Dr. Giacomo Vivanti, Dr. Cheryl Dissanjake and Dr. Cynthia Zierhut. The panel comments on the cultural representation of autism as genius in movies such as Rain Man and television series such as the Big Bang theory. Dr. Vivanti talks about autism research tendency to focus on high functioning autism perceived by many autism researchers to constitute "pure" autism research. He calls this bias into question as non evidence based, circular reasoning. There is no legitimate basis to separate autism and intellectual disability as "comorbidity".
Dr. Vivanti's recent paper, Intellectual development in autism spectrum disorders: new insights from longitudinal studies, has looked at the possibility that severe autism itself causes intellectual disability an hypothesis which itself is controversial.