Sunday, January 6, 2008

Defining a Spectrum - Degrees of Aspergers

The more I post blogs and receive feedback and the more I discuss and read about Aspergers online, the more convinced I become that the actual symptoms aren't widely known. Not only that but I've seen some amazing generalizations from the medical profession, including paediatricians and psychologists. The same seems to apply to the teaching profession.

Comments like; "they gave me good eye contact, therefore they can't have aspergers...", give the impression that the condition is a simple logical on/off switch where you either have it or you don't.

In reality, the condition is based on a set of characteristics, only some of which need to be present with any strength for a diagnosis to be made.

With this in mind, aspies could be as diverse as neurotypicals with no two having quite the same temperment.

The fact that so many similarities have been noted is probably only testament to the observational powers of Dr. Hans Asperger.

So, what does this mean for aspies in general? I guess it simply means that increasingly, we need to take the official criteria with a "pinch of salt". It shouldn't be the only way to make a diagnosis. You might have several characteristics all of which are mild or you might have only a small number of characteristics but they might be severe. In both cases, this would not be enough to diagnose a child with the condition.

Even more importantly, it's very probable that there are yet more characteristics out there which should be considered.

Of course, the flip side of the arguement is also important. If we aren't careful, there is a risk of over-diagnosis. I'm sure that most NTs have at least a couple of aspie traits. Its a spectrum after all.

1 comment:

M. L. Eizl said...

I was told by my VA therapist in the US that I can not possibly have Asperger's Syndrome because I have not been homeless or spent time in jail.

If all of us Aspies do not push HARD for understanding, we will continue to be marginalized.

I am beyond tired of being told that "I just need a tune-up" because the "professionals" can not see the inner turmoil that occurs, because I suppose, they will not take me seriously until I murder someone (or multiple people) in cold blood.