establishment psycho-bunk 7
autism and aspergers
a briefing document
|autism and aspergersone is a disease and the other a symptom|
|establishment psycho-bunk||empiric reasoning to social and psychological problems|
confusing symptoms with dis-eases—the example of autism and asperger's
What was once called shyness, or extreme shyness, and social awkwardness, is now named as dis-ease, and called 'Asperger's' .
Smallpox or a broken leg may be termed a disease, but shyness is a symptom.
The identification of 'Aspergers' is now being regularly confounded with 'autism'. Even 'autism spectrum', sure sounds 'scientific', dun'it?
Autism is probably a disease, a form of brain trauma, and in
that form is 'a disease'. See also 'dyslexia'.
Mental deficiency is also 'a symptom'. You do not function well when you are a new-born, or subject are to Alzheimer's disease, or many other causes.
Being a newborn is not a disease, Alzheimer's is a disease. I do not intend to philosophise here on the distinctions.
A person with 'Asperger's' does not function well socially, or at least they function in a manner that can be 'unpopular' or 'strange'. But they do not 'have autism', though people 'with autism' may well not function 'well' or 'popularly'.
Many 'with Aspergers', to varying degrees, may function well above the average skill levels in society. They may well become programmers, or a variety of other 'geeks'. A person with autism is unlikely to function very well.
A person with Asperger's may be able to concentrate far better than the average. They are often less socially involved, and they may not wish to be. In the terms of a cliché, they may simply march to a different drummer.
Asperger's is a symptom, not a cause. It may arise out of intense shyness, or it may arise out of different talents and interests. That is, it is a symptom.
To what extent it 'needs' curing is often a social decision, and that decision requires careful assessment, not arrogant certainties and dislike of differences.
It maybe that an 'autistic person' may also have difficulties meeting social average expectations, but a truly autistic person is very unlikely, to the vanishing point, to become a programmer or 'a scientist'.
A person 'suffering' from Asperger's is usually able to function socially well or better than average, with some help and relevant education, and maybe a bit of social support. They are also liable to contribute to society even more than the average milk bar owner.
Does the person 'with Aspergers' 'suffer'? I doubt it, other than from the expectations of average people. Who really thinks the Asperger's 'sufferer should be able to comb their hair and conform to the trivial rituals of social groups.
"How are you today?" is conventionally met by "How are you?". The 'Aspergers sufferer' is more likely to respond 'inappropriately' with "I'll go and have a look", or a catalogue of unwanted information, or even not at all.
They are not 'being rude', they are 'being literal' or maybe pre-occupied. They may even be showing a quirky sense of humour, or responding to what they see as a daft question!
The truly autistic person is likely simply incompetent, or maybe 'out-to-lunch'.
Asperger's is simply a variation in behaviour.
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© abelard, 2014, 29 april
the address for this document is http://www.abelard.org/briefings/aspergers_autism.php