“I Had Asperger Syndrome. Briefly.”

An interesting Op-ed from the New York Times titled “I had Asperger Syndrome. Briefly” explores the process, and history, of asperger syndrome. Benjamin Nugent writes,

The general idea with a psychological diagnosis is that it applies when the tendencies involved inhibit a person’s ability to experience a happy, normal life. And in my case, the tendencies seemed to do just that. My high school G.P.A. would have been higher if I had been less intensely focused on books and music. If I had been well-rounded enough to attain basic competence at a few sports, I wouldn’t have provoked rage and contempt in other kids during gym and recess.

Nugent writes of his experience in response to the proposed narrowing of Asperger Syndrome definition, and the debate that has emerged.

The authors of the next edition of the diagnostic manual, the D.S.M.-5, are considering a narrower definition of the autism spectrum. This may reverse the drastic increase in Asperger diagnoses that has taken place over the last 10 to 15 years. Many prominent psychologists have reacted to this news with dismay. They protest that children and teenagers on the mild side of the autism spectrum will be denied the services they need if they’re unable to meet the new, more exclusive criteria.

But my experience can’t be unique. Under the rules in place today, any nerd, any withdrawn, bookish kid, can have Asperger syndrome.

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2 thoughts on ““I Had Asperger Syndrome. Briefly.”

  1. I hate this article, it refuses to see that asperger is a real disability, not a social disability that means awkward people or nerds, asperger is a form of autism that has a lot more than social problems or being geek. Autistic people with asperger diagnosis have problems most times with activities of daily life, what is social or nerd about that?

  2. I, too, disagree with this author. Aspergers is not about being a nerd… it’s about being unable to understand social cues, unable to meaningfully engage in relationships as a non-asperger person does. I will agree that there is a spectrum of the disorder, from those mildly affected to more severe and autistic. For many people, especially adults that finally get the diagnosis, it is liberating. Not because they can finally get some sort of services but becuase they have a way of understanding why their life experiences are different and “out of sync” with others. And no, any nerd, withdrawn, bookish kid can not be diagnosed with Aspergers. It has specific criteria that must be met. The criteria is listed here: http://www.autreat.com/dsm4-aspergers.html You do a disservice to children and adults with this disorder by minimizing it.

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