So the folks who are creating the new DSM (Diagnostic Statistically Manual for those of you who haven’t taken a psych. class), are deciding whether or not to obliterate the term “Asperger’s” in favor of the ASD diagnosis.
The NY Times sums up the debate nicely, in this article .
While Aspie and Asperger’s won’t be gone from the American Lexicon anytime soon, and I’m sure Webster’s isn’t thinking of hitting the white out, I personally don’t see anything wrong with calling those with Asperger’s and those with the PDDNOS diagnosis, people with autistic spectrum disorders. Especially since I know that by using the ASD medical term in lieu of Asperger’s or PDDNOS, millions of children will get healthcare and educational services who would otherwise not under our current, nonsensical standards.
Many California parents already know that those kids and adults with the H.F. autism diagnosis get sorely needed IEP’s and regional center help, while the aspies and pddnos kids are left out in the cold. The bottom line is, the schools, insurance companies and government will look for reasons NOT to give out services in order to save money, why give them an arbitrary way to deny folks help… when the reality is, the difference between HF autism and asperger’s or PDDNOS is really just.. in the name (and maybe in the way the symptoms manifested themselves initially. Children who do not have language delays are considered Asperger’s in the current DSMR, while those who did have language delays and may have the same current functioning level as those with asperger’s are called HF autism).
It’s just a name. So many parents are terrified when they hear the “A” word and are reticent to accept it for their children, resulting in many kids not getting the early intervention they need. Why not work harder on educating people about what the word “Spectrum” means and what a SPECTRUM disorder is? Take the terror out of the word autism.
Again, I can’t imagine the word asperger’s will really take much of a hit if we modify the medical diagnosies…. and a lot of good may come of it.
Still, the powers that be are in the process of deciding. I wish they’d put some money into educating the public about what it is everyone’s squabbling about. And for all those young parents of children with HF autism out there (or asperger’s, or PDDNOS), a rose is a rose is a rose… I worry mostly that the lack of appropriate information and education about what AUTISM is only brings misguided animosity and jealousy from neurotypical parents who are worried that precious funds are being taken away from their children’s education… or the old “I don’t see anyting wrong with him, why is everyone making all the fuss. Maybe he just wants attention.”
I know first hand how frustrating those attitudes can be on a parent of a young child; especially a parent who has to fight tooth and nail to prove their kid needs and deserves all the help he can get.