On December 1, the NYU Child Study Center came out with advertisements in the form of ransom notes. One said, “We have your son. We will make sure he will not be able to care for himself or interact socially as long as he lives. This is only the beginning.” It was signed “Autism.” Another said, “We have your son. We are destroying his ability for social interaction and driving him into a life of complete isolation. It’s up to you now,” and was signed “Asperger Syndrome.” Harold Koplewicz, director of the center, hoped the ads would propel undiagnosed children toward competent professionals. But they repelled and upset a subset of the very population they were meant to assist: people with autism-spectrum disorders.