What is the lesson to be learned? That communicating is a vital function for human beings. We can digress endlessly, along with Sartre and other philosophers, on the existential anguish or incommunicability of man. Or comment on the paradox of the modern world that is seeing an explosion in means of communication while at the same time a dangerous trend for individuals to withdraw into their own private world. But what is beyond doubt is that communication is an extremely serious subject and of concern for those who are quite simply denied access to it.
In inaugurating the first World Autism Awareness Day on 2 April 2008, the UN sought to break the silence that surrounds this widespread problem that often makes us rather uncomfortable. When compiling this issue’s special report, we were able to gauge to what extent autism remains a mystery. However, recent efforts by European research, in the field of genetics in particular, could soon help to shed light on it.