“Autism is not anything to be cured. We just have differently wired brains, not diseased, not less, just different” – that was one person's reaction to a controversial debate on the condition in the Worcester News.

After our report on concern at how long it takes to provide children with a diagnosis of autism in Worcestershire, and ways to speed that up, Nicholas Hatton from Bromsgrove sent a letter which we published.

Mr Hatton said he was shocked that “professionals are diagnosing this condition to such an extent.”

“The notion of this disorder as a ‘disease’ that must be brought under control is illogical," he wrote. "There is no known cure for autism – what good does it do to bandy these diagnoses around?”

Mr Hatton said more money needed to be spent on “cancer and other serious illnesses” and also on libraries and sports clubs “that encourage social involvement.”

His letter provoked a strong response from members of a support group for people with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD).

Speaking anonymously, one said: “We just have differently wired brains, not diseased, not less – just different, which brings with it many positives when we are able to function in an environment conducive to our needs.

“The problem is that society has changed and now our children need support to function optimally. Class sizes and schools have got bigger, social demands more complex (connecting to thousands via social media for example), life runs at a faster pace leaving us little time to process and we have lost what is so important for people on the spectrum; understanding of each other, empathy, nurturing, patience, time, relationships.

“Because society has changed, our children need a diagnosis to be understood... something this gentleman clearly is not able to do.

“Our children need their neurology identifying so that their parents can fight for the support they need which puts them back onto a level playing field with neurotypical peers. What needs putting back in as support for our children is what society has overlooked and changed over the last decade.”

“Many of the older generation who have undiagnosed ASD also usually have traumatic and painful stories of isolation and or abuse due to lack of understanding when they were growing up.

The speaker said an early diagnosis was needed to enable access to the support needed to live independently: “We are now living in the 21st century acceptance is key... but diagnosis has to come first. Our children cannot access the support they need to reach their potential and be included in society without a diagnosis”