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Sunday, January 5, 2020

Autism and the Draft

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the day-to-day challenges facing autistic people and their families.

The possibility of war with Iran raises a question:  are young men with autism subject to the military draft?  Shot answer:  they must register but in most cases are not eligible for service. 

From the Selective Service System:

These men with disabilities that would disqualify them from military service still must register with Selective Service. Selective Service does not presently have authority to classify men, so even men with obvious handicaps must register, and if needed, classifications would be determined later.
But unless the military changes its regulations, autistic young men would probably not have to serve.

Lisa Jo Rudy explains:
According to Department of Defense Instruction 6130.03 (Medical Standards for Appointment, Enlistment, or Induction in the Military Services) persons with the following would not be medically fit for military service: pervasive developmental disorders, including Asperger Syndrome, autistic spectrum disorders, and pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified does not meet the standard by virtue of current diagnosis, or for which the candidate has a verified past medical history.
During the Vietnam War, many  young men sought medical deferments, often with the help of their parents.  Trump's father got a podiatrist to say that he had "bone spurs."

Prediction:  if war does break out, some parents of young men in high school will head to psychologists to see if they can get a formal autism diagnosis.