Thursday, November 5, 2009

Asperger's Syndrome is about to be eliminated!

Medical science is on the verge of wiping out Asperger's syndrome. More specifically, they're rewriting the psychiatric diagnostic manual to define it out of existence.
If these experts have their way, Asperger’s syndrome and another mild form of autism, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (P.D.D.-N.O.S. for short), will be folded into a single broad diagnosis, autism spectrum disorder — a category that encompasses autism’s entire range, or spectrum, from high-functioning to profoundly disabling.
I guess that counts as curing, doesn't it? But seriously, it's a step forward recognizing that what we had been callling Asperger's (or Engineer's Disease) is just a section of a continuum of some stuff  happening in the brain.

And it brings up the recurring question of how bad does an autist have to be for us to want to "fix" them? We need engineers and scientists, and there's no reason to hassle people just because they're fixated on something we don't care about. But at some point, Asperger's becomes autism and increasingly limits a person to the  point of not being able to take care of themself.* Temple Grandin is certainly an example of a productive autist. How much more autistic does someone have to be before we figure they're broken enough to recommend therapy and give the kid an IEP?

*Yes, I embrace the singular they. So what?

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