Steadman defines a disorder as a disturbance of function, structure, or
both resulting from a genetic or embryologic failure in development. This is an extremely
important point because when we, as doctors, think about a disorder, were saying
something is wrong. We cant define it, we dont know what it is but something
went wrong either before birth or in genetics and you have a fixed entity thats not
a disease process.
Syndrome is merely a group of signs and symptoms. Obviously, disorders
as well as diseases can create symptom complexes that we call a syndrome. The trouble here
is that a lot of people are seeing autism when what theyre really looking at is a
different disease process.