No more aspergers, it's now autism

  1. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    Is there really a benefit for people with Aspergers to be re-categorized as "autism spectrum disorders"?

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100211/ap_on_he_me/us_med_asperger_s_diagnosis
     
  2. jcsd
  3. I personally live with aspergers day to day. and since being diagnosed several years ago. and trying to think around my word blocks and trying to focus less on my thoughts and more on the world around me. i've made a world of difference i can live by myself fine.
    but there are some people with asperger's who need alot more help. and i while i don't understand the complete ramifications of this pddnos thing. it sounds to me like those aspies that need more help may not get the help they need. and might just be lumped together. the classification i believe should be for the patient and doctor. diagnosing someone with aspergers as autism. is... retarded. they need different things in the majority of cases. and very different care.
     
  4. Another Aspie here. I think both sides have valid points. It's not really relevant to me since I'm in my late 30's, but I'm pretty certain I'd have the same worries voiced by the Asperger parents if I myself were parent of an Aspie. Makes me wonder why the editors don't set up a web poll that actually carries some weight in the decision-making process. Seems like it would be a lot more fair that way.
     
  5. Sometimes it seems like every second person on the internet has Asperger's.

    Makes you wonder...
     
  6. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    The internet is a great medium for people with aspergers. I tried to date a guy with aspergers once, but he was afraid to meet me, he said he was incapable of making eye contact, that he would have to make maps of the place we would meet so he could have his escape routes planned and reherse them, we would have to meet at said place only, no before or after, then ultimately, he could not go through with it. But he was awesome to talk to over the internet.
     
  7. turbo

    turbo 7,365
    Gold Member

    I know high-functioning people who are socially awkward and withdrawn. I would hate to make a diagnosis based on that, even if I was qualified, which I am not. I was somewhat awkward as a kid and was terrified to perform music in public, but forced myself to do it because my heroes did it. Eventually, I ended up consulting for industries that were engaged in one way or another with steam-driven power generation, and taught classes filled with seasoned workers in the field. Ever get a dream about standing naked in front of your class and making a presentation?

    Sometimes, to cope, I would develop "routines" that I now recognize as possible symptoms of OCD. I had a socially-awkward female friend in HS that was very quiet and self-conscious about her appearance and interactions with others (she had no reason to be), and when we took our SATs we both ended up in the 99.5+ percentile. Our graduating class was 42 students - the largest ever in the history of our HS. We both ended up at UMO, but I think that we were both too shy to hook up with each other there. She ended up with a BF that took the lead, and I ended up with GF(s) that took the lead.

    There is a broad spectrum of intelligence, sociability, etc, and it's probably non-productive to pigeonhole people too narrowly. I knew other engineering students that were "geeky" and didn't bust out of that. Having to play frat parties for spending money helped me a lot. When you've got a lot of well-lubricated "brothers" cheering and singing along with G-L-O-R-I-A and begging for "House of the Rising Sun" so they could slow-dance and paw their dates...it wasn't adulation, but basic affirmation. It paid well, and the wire-walk of public performance was a great confidence-builder.
     
  8. turbo

    turbo 7,365
    Gold Member

    BTW, as a kid I had a "feeling" about integers. Even before I knew about squares, I had an affinity for 2, 4, 16, etc, with a fondness for 8. 12 was a special number for me because it resulted from the multiplication of 3 (a bad number!) with 4 (a perfect number). I didn't like odd numbers much, nor their multiplicative products. I can't tell you why, but it was LONG before the age of 10, because I remember making patterns of dots (to represent integer multiples of one) in a house that we lived in well before that age.
     
  9. f95toli

    f95toli 2,349
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I think the reason for the re-classification is simply that many believe that Aspergers and Autism (plus a third diagnosis I don't remember the name of, Reed's? ) really ARE the the same type of disorder, i.e. that the underlying causes and many of the symptoms are the same.
    Also, people with autism isn't exactly a homogeneous group either so it is definitely a spectrum disorder.
    Is it even with today's criteria possible to distinguish between "mild" Autism and "severe" Aspergers?
     
  10. Aspergers are getting recognized as a autism. Asperger syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder. Children with Asperger syndrome have exceptional rote memory, but these people are evaluating the world in a different way. They have incomprehensibility with social, emotional and communication skills.
     
  11. adrenaline

    adrenaline 274
    Science Advisor

    This may just be a more practical social reason.

    Currently, parents of autistic children utilize the federal law guaranteeing free public education to children with disabilities. Parents run into the problem of school districts questioning whether or not children with Asperger’s really need special educational services. The change could actually make it easier to receive services, as well as speed up the process.
     
  12. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Here is an excerpt from a report that discusses the issue, with both the similarities and differences in what is presently defined as Asperger syndrome vs. high functioning autism and the difficulty in really distinguishing between them.

    http://resources.metapress.com/pdf-preview.axd?code=7154g6l861436801&size=largest

    Asperger syndrome is already considered an "autism spectrum disorder." The difference being proposed is to not have a completely separate diagnosis for it from autism, because the present diagnostic criteria really don't make it clear how to distinguish between high functioning autism and asperger syndrome. The paper I cited above is actually making the argument to keep the separate diagnoses but provide better definition of the distinctions between the two.

    Of course, the real determination, eventually, will come from better understanding of the neural processes, causes, etc., in the research on the disorders and whether they really are different degrees of the same condition or have completely different causes. Right now, the definitions are behavioral.
     
  13. I wish I could read that whole paper. It looks like he's starting to make an excellent point about the qualitative difference between the social impairment of autism and Asperger's. This is the sort of thing you can pick up on in a second when encountering either in real life but which takes quite a bit of explaining on paper. The confusion caused by the DSM criteria is a result of both conditions being boiled down to tersely phrased hallmarks that seem to resemble each other when rendered in that form, while the actual people have a remarkably different qualitative feel. So, I wonder what other qualitative differences he points to that should be included in proper criteria for distinguishing between them.
     
  14. People with Aspergers experience difficulty in social functioning, in making friends with people around them, a lack of spontaneous functioning and social reciprocity, they have problem with speech and have linguistic irregularities.
     
  15. Asperger is a developmental disorder characterized by an effect on basic life skills. Parenting a child with aspergers syndrome is little difficult and challenging when compared with other normal kids and it also requires a lot of patience with positive mentality so that it can be transferred to the kid. Giving moral support and encouragement can have a drastic reduce in their disease.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 26, 2010
  16. To answer the OP, 'cui bono?' I would say insurance companies and government services. I'm not supporting that, but given that the medium in which the definition is being changed doesn't effect diagnostic or treatment criteria, it seems that it is the industry side which benefits.
     
  17. I was once diagnosed with PDD-NOS when I was younger, not sure how seriously I take it, as two others didn't diagnose me with it. To be fair to the field though, I had a pretty weird childhood, so maybe that contributed to me being hard to pin down.

    Anywho, as it is one of the other "atypical autism" disorders, is it also getting rolled up into this spectrum thing?
     
  18. PDD-NOS is by its very definition, no one thing, and is not rolled into autism. If it were, it would be "NOS". If one of three diagnoses was positive, I would tend to believe that as you say, it is a matter of your affect and mean at the time of that one diagnosis. Being anxious or shy in an atypical fashion can sometimes cause such a misdiagnosis, but by young adulthood these "delays" can even out. The only way to be sure about PDD-NOS is to see the adult the child grows into, and 'NOS' is really an admission of not understanding the cause of the apparent delay(s).
     
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