Asperger’s Syndrome is no longer a diagnosis by itself. It is classified as an Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is sometimes called “high functioning autism.” Regardless of it’s fancy tone, this is a highly derogatory name.
I can get pass the “syndrome” part, even though one might argue there as well, but there is much bigger issue to adress. The word that is extremely derogatory and humiliating is “disorder.” By calling something “a disorder” we are implying that the discussed subject is wrong and it should be altered or improved in some way. In the field where Asperger’s is treated there is a lot of concern for political correctness. But it seems that every new denomination eventually proves to be more humiliating than the previous one.
The name means nothing. Even William Shakespeare claimed that. But the name does not stand for itself in a vacuum with no purpose. It is used to create first impression. By calling something a certain name we determine how this entity will be viewed. It creates mind frame. So when we first meet an Aspie we are informed that this is an Autism Spectrum Disorder sufferer. In other words, before anything else we are informed that this person is broken beyond repair.
And that is not the case only with random people that have nothing to do with the Aspie in question. When an Aspie is “diagnosed” the medical experts (!) will immediately start a treatment program to cure or at least rehabilitate the patient, because there is, sadly, no cure for this horrible thing. That’s the most common view. But it is completely wrong.
No one notices a huge amount of positive traits and special abilities that this person has. You were fine one day and you are damaged beyond repair the next. Who cares that you have ridiculously high IQ, who cares that you notice and memorize even the smallest details to the extent that would freak people out if they knew, who cares that you have eidetic memory (hell, who even cares what that means). Who cares that you are super sensitive for tastes, smells and human emotions. Who cares that you notice and feel things that “normal” people don’t. All of that is irrelevant. They all focus on your social awkwardness, your lack of social skills and seemingly unhealthy obsession with a chosen hobby. If you are unlucky enough to get a formal diagnosis and are at the same time a school child you will be included in a whole bunch of therapies and rehabilitating activities, all with one common result: to make you feel inadequate and simply wrong on all levels. It’s the ultimate way to kill the little self esteem a child have. Everything with good intentions, though.
When my son got diagnosed (and I have yet to explain tho whole extent of that part of my life and why it was the worst decision I made and the worst thing that happened to me) everyone was oh so understanding and was pitying me and my whole family. They had all heard a thing or two about it, watched a simplified documentary or something, or ever worse, seen a movie about it. They felt sorry for this poor family that has had this horrible thing happened to them. I couldn’t really comprehend why I got that kind of reactions. I on the other hand was excited about it. My son was the same as he has always been and the formal diagnosis was just a denomination to me. When I read about Asperger’s Syndrome I only thouht to myself something like “oh I see now, THAT is the reason that he is so awesome” and I was proud if anything. Proud and happy that my son’s amazing abilities are finally being recognized. I felt as if the school system is now given the chance to repair mistakes and injustices that were made to me personally two decades earlier. That’s what I thought. I COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG.
I will adress that issue later.
Asperger’s Syndrome is a form of neurodiversity. It is no more of a disorder than having certain hair color. It should not be pitied od treated, instead it should be recognized for what it is: a set of special abilities that could enable a person to acomplish every goal they would set. It is not a disorder and it is not a disability. What makes it disabling is the humiliating attitude that the society is showing to Aspies.