This article aims to analyze the divergences shown by the different parts involved in the proposal of the public policies for autism in Brazil. The methodological approach is a document analysis concerning two documents released in 2013 by the Ministry of Health, regarding the autism’s care in the Unified Health System. One is called “Guidelines for Rehabilitation of People with Autism Spectrum Disorder” and approaches autism as belonging to the disabilities’ field, proposing rehabilitation as the main treatment method. The other document, “Guidelines for the care of People with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families in the Psychosocial Care Network of the Unified Health System”, approaches autism as belonging to the field of the mental disorders, to be treated by the psychosocial care network. It is concluded that, although the theoretical and clinical dissents act as important factors in this controversy, they do not play the major role in the conflict, once they can be negotiated. The disagreements seem to focus a certain claim, made by the involved groups, regarding which of them would be acknowledged as the main and more legitimate experts in the autism issue, as a way to become recognized as key players in the policy proposition.
autism; psychosocial care; rehabilitation; public policy