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Medicine Science

No More "Asperger's Syndrome" 602

cstacy writes "The American Psychiatric Association is dropping Asperger's Syndrome from the upcoming edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) Its symptoms will be included under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorder, which includes everything from severe autism such as children who do not talk or interact, to milder forms of autism. Asperger's disorder is impairment in social interaction and repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, activities and interests, without significant delay in language or cognitive development. Often the person has high intelligence and vast knowledge on narrow subjects but lacks social skills. DSM-5 comes out in May and will be the first major rewrite in 19 years."
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No More "Asperger's Syndrome"

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  • Damn... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @01:03AM (#42165773)
    And I thought the headline meant they had a cure!
    • Re:Damn... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ipquickly ( 1562169 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @01:08AM (#42165795) Homepage

      It's not a disease.

      • Re:Damn... (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03, 2012 @01:40AM (#42166009)
        Diseases are not the only thing that can be cured. Ham, for instance.
        • Re:Damn... (Score:5, Funny)

          by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @03:04AM (#42166401) Homepage Journal
          My friend, ham is not only a disease, but two diseases—a serious neurological condition [] caused by a tropical virus, and this other thing that Google tells me is 100% real []. It is perhaps notable that neither can currently be cured.
        • Re:Damn... (Score:4, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03, 2012 @03:59AM (#42166573)

          "Diseases are not the only thing that can be cured. Ham, for instance."

          So there's hope for Captain Kirk?

        • Re:Damn... (Score:5, Informative)

          by Miamicanes ( 730264 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @09:59AM (#42168139)

          >Diseases are not the only thing that can be cured. Ham, for instance.

          Sorry, but the Amiga's most famous graphics mode was congenitally-screwed the moment the company's management forced Jay Miner to go back and make it RGB-based instead of hue-saturation-luminosity based. In retrospect, though, it was mostly just ahead of its time. If I could go back in time 20 years, I'd NOW implement a HAM game by rendering to a phantom 16-bit playfield (using the top bit or few to flag 'dirty' bitmap areas that changed), then use something like the painter algorithm to re-render chunks of it that virtual bitmap to (sliced?)HAM in semi-realtime.

          It wouldn't have worked on anything less than an A3000 with at least 2 megs, and would have probably had a real update rate of around .25 to 2fps (not counting sprites), but DAMN, it would have had some killer screenshots in AmigaWorld and sold a few thousand copies before anybody realized the underlying game itself either sucked or was only cool due to the graphics (kind of like the UFO game that was basically a HAM background with sprites animated over it that that sold lots of copies despite sucking as a game, just because it was a game that used HAM).

      • Re:Damn... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Trentula ( 1684992 ) * on Monday December 03, 2012 @01:42AM (#42166029)


        a disordered or incorrectly functioning organ, part, structure, or system of the body resulting from the effect of genetic or developmental errors, infection, poisons, nutritional deficiency or imbalance, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors; illness; sickness; ailment.

        Aspergers seems to fit the definition of disease.
      • Re:Damn... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by icebike ( 68054 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @01:46AM (#42166055)

        It's not a disease.

        Well, not by that name any more any way.

        One artificial psychiatric definition down, about 3500 to go [].

      • It's an enhancement!

    • Re:Damn... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by klingers48 ( 968406 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @02:07AM (#42166173)
      I know, it's a damn shame. I thought the same thing.

      The really sad part is that I know from personal experience just how different Asperger's and true autism are. I had a good friend for many, many years that I sadly lost contact with that had Aspergers. A little awkward, but one of the most highly intelligent people I know. On the other hand, I also have an immediate family member that does fall on the autistic spectrum, and over several decades we've all been through the highs and the lows as a family.

      Aspergers may be on the austisic spectrum, but they're nothing alike in real terms.

      I also know first-hand how a label can effect self-confidence. I have Tourette Syndrome, very much controllable, but everyone's first frame of reference is that damn Rob Scheider movie. You've gotta laugh, but it does get awkward sometimes. I don't want to imagine how much anxiety highly ingelligent, high functioning but socially-anxious Aspergers sufferers are going to go through when they start being labelled autistic.

      This is doing them a great disservice.
      • Re:Damn... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03, 2012 @04:22AM (#42166653)

        "Aspergers may be on the austisic spectrum, but they're nothing alike in real terms."
        I disagree. I have aspergers and I have 2 children who are both autistic. The are certainly some differences between us, but there is also a lot of similarities. One of the biggest things that we have in common is our low tolerance for difficult and stimulating situations.
        I personally have always felt that aspergers really did fit under the ASD umbrella although it was medically as accepted that way until now.

      • Re:Damn... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by prefect42 ( 141309 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @07:09AM (#42167281)

        Aspergers may be on the austisic spectrum, but they're nothing alike in real terms.

        It's a spectrum! The EM spectrum is quite similar...

        You can't expect people at the mild end to show the same symptoms and behaviours as those as the severe end. Let's be honest here, we're all on the autistic spectrum somewhere, and I can easily believe the slashdot crowd are skewed towards one end from the population mean.

        • Aspergers may be on the austisic spectrum, but they're nothing alike in real terms.

          It's a spectrum! The EM spectrum is quite similar...

          You can't expect people at the mild end to show the same symptoms and behaviours as those as the severe end. Let's be honest here, we're all on the autistic spectrum somewhere, and I can easily believe the slashdot crowd are skewed towards one end from the population mean.

          Your analogy to the EM spectrum is quite apt here. Scientists know exactly what it is if they've been trained in Physics, EE, or Chemistry, pertly much nobody else knows what it means other than you have a poster with a rainbow on your wall. In a vacuum, they behave the same, but the equations that cover microwaves, visible light, and x-rays are very different when they become the least bit useful to you by reflecting off, getting absorbed, or traveling though stuff.

          To Average Joe who will ultimately make d

      • To be fair, no two people on the spectrum are the same, even if they both have Asperger's. Think of a social situation as an obstacle course. A neuro-typical person can navigate it with ease. Someone with Asperger's would be equivalent to navigating the course while relying on crutches. They can do many of the things that non-spectrum people do, but it might take them longer, takes much more effort, and some of the obstacles may prove too much for them. Meanwhile, the people with Autism (of the non-hig

    • by dogsbreath ( 730413 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @10:22AM (#42168329)


      Only the name "Asperger's Syndrome" has been dropped. The collective set of symptoms and diagnostic criteria are in the DSM and there is no danger of the diagnosis disappearing. Just don't label it "Asperger's".

      Apparently in some parts of the world (eg US) health insurers don't provide support because the word "Autism" is not in the name. If the label doesn't say autism then I guess it ain't autism. Go figure.

      IMHO this is a particularly bad summary description.

  • by NIK282000 ( 737852 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @01:07AM (#42165789) Homepage Journal Slashdot Spectrum Disorder.

    • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @01:34AM (#42165973) Slashdot Spectrum Disorder.

      Er, no. That's something else entirely... it's when a geek goes to see a psychologist, and three hours later they leave because the psychologist goes rigid and becomes unresponsive for days. Afterwords, all they usually say for awhile after that is "500... 500... 500..." over and over again. Occasionally they get this funny look on their face and then they look at their watch and exclaim "Timed out! It's all out of time!" before returning to their stupor. They do eventually recover. It's theorized it's because direct contact with the geek psyche overwhelms a normal person, causing their brain to seize for a long time until the information overload subsides.

      • You seem to assume that a psychologist is a "normal person". And, that is where your scenario falls on it's face. Shrinks are, in fact, some very strange people, haunted by their own ghosts and harassed by their own demons.

    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @01:49AM (#42166075) Homepage

      The percentage of Aspberger's on Slashdot is probably higher than average.

      And it may be a form of Autism, but sometimes it's tough to generalize too much since that will just cause psychiatrists and others to look at the person and consider him/her "normal" compared to the cases they work with instead of handing over you to someone that specializes in cases of the milder forms.

    • so much lol

  • by alienzed ( 732782 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @01:07AM (#42165791) Homepage
    No more Aspergers, Pluto is not a planet, life starts at conception, etc... Labelling something only help perpetrate the misunderstandings surrounding the very real issues. We need to stop calling things stuff and start actually understanding them in meaningful ways.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03, 2012 @01:13AM (#42165827)

      You're right. The best way to do that would be to stop using names for things, that just makes everything too confusing. Instead we should write a page explaining what we're referring too each time we mention a new concept in conversation.

      Labels are shortcuts. They aren't always great, sometimes they need to be adjusted, but in many cases they are necessary and useful. In fact this could easily increase understanding by pointing out that it is not a separate issue, I don't know enough about Aspergers or Autism to conclude that but I get the impression that you aren't concluding the opposite. Just trying to sound intelligent by complaining about labels.

    • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @01:28AM (#42165927)

      No more Aspergers, Pluto is not a planet, life starts at conception, etc... Labelling something only help perpetrate the misunderstandings surrounding the very real issues. We need to stop calling things stuff and start actually understanding them in meaningful ways.

      So, you're the poster formerly known as alienzed?

    • by Gaygirlie ( 1657131 ) <gaygirlie&hotmail,com> on Monday December 03, 2012 @01:36AM (#42165979) Homepage

      We need to stop calling things stuff and start actually understanding them in meaningful ways.

      Understanding and discussing things without ever defining any terms for them is impossible.

  • Ass boogers (Score:5, Funny)

    by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gmail.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Monday December 03, 2012 @01:12AM (#42165817) Homepage Journal

    One advantage of the term "autism spectrum" is that it doesn't have a double entendre of "ass boogers".

    Disclosure: I have this condition.

  • About time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @01:12AM (#42165821)
    In the zeal to categorize everything, anyone who might not have been "sufficiently" socialized, or was a little clumsey, has been branded as suffering from Asperger's Syndrome.

    I've worked with a number of people who share all the Asperger's traits. Rather socially awkward, some Obsessiveness, not the most physicaly gifted. Yes, I worked with scientists and engineers. But they were just different, and their traits were not a disability, it was who they were. And they are very good at doing what they do. And we all get along just fine.

    The only people hurt by this decision is the Autism Speaks people, who will need to revise their statistics.

    • by wherrera ( 235520 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @01:27AM (#42165917) Journal

      Unfortunately, decreasing the number of people said to have a condition is a good way to decrease its funding chances in the government subsidies to researchers.

      That's bad news for those who actually have the condition--lessening the chances for their eventual cure.

      The move itself is akin to splitting off persons who have compulsive tendency in their personalities from those diagnose-able with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and as such seems to be a reasonable change in categorization.

      • Re:About time (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @01:44AM (#42166043) Homepage

        The move itself is akin to splitting off persons who have compulsive tendency in their personalities from those diagnose-able with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and as such seems to be a reasonable change in categorization.

        This is one of the most controversial aspects of psychiatry. Human behavior is all a spectrum. All of us (well, most of us anyway) have personality traits. One may be a bit tightly wound, or a bit too laid back, or sloppy or overly neat, or insensitive or smotheringly kind. The combination of those traits make us who we are.

        The classical definition of a personality disorder has been when one or more of those traits becomes a dominant part of a persons personality and becomes 'harmful' to that person or society at large. We've all seen the psychopathic boss, the obsessive person who drives family and coworkers away, the very dependent person who wrecks relationships. But when do you call it a disorder? The first time someone complains about the boss? The first divorce? The first time you get into a fight?

        It's a fluid distinction. Our favorite disordered personality, Stephen P. Jobs, might well have been banished to an Ashram if we had any sort of effective treatment. Balmer and Gates might have been turned into, well, dunno, I have nothing here. Anyway, it is at the heart of how we define normal (or at least acceptable). In many ways, we don't really want to get to the point where we can treat it or even understand it.

        Careful what you ask for, you just might get it.

      • by icebike ( 68054 )

        good way to decrease its funding chances in the government subsidies to researchers.
        That's bad news for those who actually have the condition--lessening the chances for their eventual cure.

        So no harm, no foul then?

        Do you know anyone "cured" by psychiatrist?
        (Other than being drugged into a stupor).

    • Re:About time (Score:5, Informative)

      by fafalone ( 633739 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @01:41AM (#42166013)
      To qualify for the diagnosis, not only do the criteria have to be met, but it must cause clinically significant impairment in functioning. People always seem to overlook that part.
      • To qualify for the diagnosis, not only do the criteria have to be met, but it must cause clinically significant impairment in functioning. People always seem to overlook that part.

        If you don't include the "significant impairment in functioning" part of the criteria, pretty much everyone who is working toward or has worked toward an advanced degree in a hard science or math fits the definition. Or at least they did while they were in their degree program. And, yeah, I have a M.S. in math.


    • by adolf ( 21054 )

      And they are very good at doing what they do.

      I think you meant to say "They were lucky to be able to position themselves in a job that allows an awkward, obsessive, clumsy person with a narrow focus of intellectual ability to prosper, and they are very good at doing what they do."

    • Re:About time (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03, 2012 @01:55AM (#42166111)

      Well, not exactly, the DSM-5 at the same time removing the AS label relaxes the criteria of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Anyone who qualified for the criteria of Asperger's Syndrom qualifies for the DSM-5's criteria for proper autism. This is because there is little to no benefit at all in treating people with severe issues who have AS any differently from those with Autism. The only differentiator, really, between AS and classical Kanner's autism in the DSM-4 was a language delay, even if one had a language delay and coped better as an adult than someone who did not have one, that person would be diagnosed kanners and the one without the delay with aspergers. This caused as you can imagine a headache with regards to getting insurance or the state to cover any amount of therapy if you had the AS label even if you really needed it and your family wasn't in a position to reasonably afford it.

    • Re:About time (Score:5, Insightful)

      by spiffmastercow ( 1001386 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @04:22AM (#42166651)
      No, you work with a bunch of people who *think* they have Asperger's. if you sit through one of my son's 3 hour long meltdowns because he suddenly decided his shirt was the wrong color, you'd see the difference.
  • I'm Cured! (Score:5, Funny)

    by dmomo ( 256005 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @01:13AM (#42165829)

    Not that it's a good thing. Now when I make those curt judgmental remarks due my lack of a sensible social filter, I'm just being an asshole.

  • by Jonah Hex ( 651948 ) <> on Monday December 03, 2012 @01:14AM (#42165835) Homepage Journal
    Sorry but a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder is such a wide range of issues that we need things to be broken down a bit more. Saying something is ASD is as bad as labeling it Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) which is a HUGE umbrella term. I'm an Asperger Syndrome person, and not quite like everyone else but still a diagnosis of AS fits me much better than ASD.

    Shout out to the Aspie Quiz [], go take it! - HEX
    • This is nothing but better categorization and summation in a general medical book. Everything cannot get its own section.

      This does not mean that people with ASD will no longer be diagnosed in depth. I never read the original article and have no idea what this book is used for, but I know that is is not the sum of all medical knowledge.

    • by pspahn ( 1175617 )

      Umbrella terms exist so that facilities that care for these folks can apply for Medicaid funding set aside for specific groups of folks.

      It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with how the big pile of money gets sorted.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03, 2012 @01:16AM (#42165843)

    Why does it matter if the label changes. The people who are affected by Aspergers Syndrome/Mild Autism Spectrum Disorder, such as myself, will be the same people regardless. The DSM V is really not changing anything significant to reality.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      > Why does it matter if the label changes

      In theory it shouldn't, but as Yogi Bera said, "In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is". Caregivers tend to grab on to the labels assigned to their patients in order to simplify the task of treatment. In medicine, where there are many (if not the majority) of conditions which have well-defined and well-understood etiologies (and corresponding treatments), this is very useful. In psychiatry and psychology, I'm not so su

  • Whew, thank God it's the 30th anniversary of AIDS. Now that it's trendy again we don't have to worry about losing Aspergers. For a minute I thought we would have to start worrying about "ordinary" medical conditions.

    Although I still hope for the day when People will cover star studded fundraisers for corns and calluses.
  • Met them (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EmperorOfCanada ( 1332175 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @01:21AM (#42165875)
    I have met people with Asperger's and I have met people with Autism and I have met both treated and mostly untreated. People with these two diseases are wildly separate in functionality and the ability to function. I would no more say that Asperger's is in the spectrum of autism than I would say freckles are in the spectrum of melanoma. Technically it might be correct that they both have root similarities but a useless categorization. The treated people with Asperger's that I have witnessed have become shockingly functional human beings achieving at a level well in the top 1% while having few interpersonal issues. Whereas the best I have seen with autisim are people who marginally function in most areas of societal interaction and usually at best over develop one or two areas such as piano. So it seems to me that the strategy with people with autism is to help them cope with life whereas with Asperger's the goal should be to give them a few extra social skills so that they can thrive. Like melanoma and freckles with one your focus is to keep the person from becoming dead, with the other your goal is to find a good sun hat.

    I am willing to bet that there are quite a few Asperger's programmers out there but very few autistic programmers; testers maybe.
    • Re:Met them (Score:4, Interesting)

      by infinitelink ( 963279 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @03:17AM (#42166443) Homepage Journal
      Hopefully, being a "nerd" site, this will be taken for what it's worth rather than condemned suddenly and viciously: I know a young man, we'll call him "Tim", who has among the severest forms of autism. Essentially it is a diagnosis of "will never be functional: always need assistance/direction and extreme oversight".

      For whatever reason he was taken from a parent and put with another relative. Something along the lines of "Italian matriarchal type", and she had the old-school, conservative-like prejudices of "practically anything mammalian can be conditioned like Pavlov's dogs" and "things related by blood should be given lots of love", so she did both: when he "misbehaved", he got beatings [], and the neural malformation or dysfunction that makes conditioning of behavior hard just meant that the discipline had to be that much more severe; at all other times, though discipline was very stringent, he was very much treated with love too.

      So now the doctors and "experts" haven't a clue why, call him a miracle and mystery, but the guy functions with extreme...normality. He doesn't like to speak: he has both received a communications board (think Steven Hawkings) and been taught sign language, but seems to have something against language itself, and only talks with those he is very, very close to, but otherwise seems completely normal--slower than others yes, but he can get along, go out with people to enjoy himself, whether for a movie or playing put put.

      Of course he really doesn't write, not that people with something against language could even be expected to try, much less people with extreme problems in neural development, but then again, nobody but family and insiders know why it is that he can actually function the way he does.

      Or to summarize, he was viewed as a child with extreme behavior tendencies and a very strong will who had to be broken for his own benefit, and those around him, so that he could benefit from being social with those around him rather than isolated, and it worked. I think this suggest that the problem may lie partially in the "experts" picking-up some of the thinking from the damn social workers in schools and other "professional" fields: "O, Jonny has a syndrome that means he can't behave" (and yes, there is a diagnosis for this: it's also the symptom that portends that good teachers will quit public schools, and yes I have known a few of those too).

      p.s. He is an adult now. Also, I do not say these things lightly: I was beaten--quite unjustly--rather frequently through certain portions of my childhood, by an inconsiderate father, who was often drunk (I ran away too: twice, the second time permanent), and just as mean the next day or days on "residual". I would be beaten over simple and trifling things, and even for things that I was not told were wrong or I shouldn't do, but simply because my father thought they either might make him look bad, or were not in accord with his ideals: also, the guy has few to no ideals and his opinions constantly move and shift: it was unpredictable, could come at any moment for anything, and it was living in hell day to day. There is a significant difference between discipline (for another's good) and that sort of abuse (beating someone with no appreciable reason or intended good, but out of mere anger).
    • Re:Met them (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03, 2012 @03:35AM (#42166501)

      Think of it this way:

      You go in to the clinic because your spouse is worried about your health.

      You're 50 lbs overweight and your cholesterol and blood sugar are too high.

      Do we have a separate diagnosis for the person who's 100 lbs overweight? Does it matter what the label is?

      You should be paying attention to what the psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, your family, and what you yourself identify as your particular constellation of problems.

      The label is useless and explains nothing. You don't have Aspergers, or Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder, you have a constellation of social cognitive problems that represent part of who you have been. The causes are probably unknown and may be unique to you or your family, just like the causes of someone else "with Aspergers" are unknown and probably unique to them or their family.

      Do you want a ruler with one line on it that says "long"?

      I'm not saying these aren't real problems, I'm just saying any label is useless.

      I say this as someone who has worked on the DSM. Ignore it. It's not what matters.

      • by Jmc23 ( 2353706 )
        umm, obese and morbidly obese? Treatments differ as well.

        It's always good to know your general location before attempting a journey.

  • Disorder my ass... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ipquickly ( 1562169 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @01:25AM (#42165901) Homepage

    Granted, there are many people who view this as a disorder. But there are also those of us who view it as a gift and view the challenges and the setbacks that it has presented as experiences that have had an extremely positive impact on our lives. While I sympathize with those who have trouble dealing with it, this is who I am and I would never want this to change.

    I wold never want to be labeled as someone with a disorder, having a minimal to non-existent social life is fine by me. This is just putting a negative label on people who already have a lot of social stigma to deal with.

    • You may be fine with Asperger's, but there's a whole lot of people for whom it causes lots of issues, too. I've met several such people myself and used to talk with one guy from the Netherlands for something around a year or so, and it was quite clear that he wasn't enjoying it. That is to say that while you may personally be fine with it you must also take into account the others who aren't.

    • I think you mean "Disorder my ass burger."

  • C'mon, idiots. (Score:5, Informative)

    by djh101010 ( 656795 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @01:32AM (#42165963) Homepage Journal
    My entire team, who fix operational Unix problems for a fortune-5 company whose name rhymes with "EG", are Asberger's. If they weren't,they wouldn't have survived my job interview. I don't care what DSM-whateverthefark calls it, but, if you can't context switch many times a day and intensely follow the important shiny thing, then you are not cut out to be top-level support for a "fix the broken stuff" team. Maybe it's a talent rather than a disorder. /shrug. Discuss.
    • Re:C'mon, idiots. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Gaygirlie ( 1657131 ) <gaygirlie&hotmail,com> on Monday December 03, 2012 @02:54AM (#42166361) Homepage

      Maybe it's a talent rather than a disorder. /shrug. Discuss.

      Why do people with AS try so hard to insinuate that it isn't a disorder? Sounds very much like insecurity. Personally I view it as a disorder AND a talent, not one or the other.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There's this romantic idea that anyone who is introverted and likes math has Asperger's, therefore Asperger's is cool.

      In the same way that sneezing a couple of times doesn't mean you have a cold, having some level of Asperger's traits doesn't mean you have Asperger's. Actual Asperger's syndrome have several drawbacks that people with the condition have to deal with, like for instance difficulty to do context switching.

  • by Revotron ( 1115029 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @01:39AM (#42166001)
    This is terrible. Now Slashdotters will have to find a new disease to self-diagnose and blame for their undeveloped social skills. Might I suggest ASPD?
  • So basically nerds no longer have any cover for their lack of social skills?

    • by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <.moc.edargorter- ... . .xetroCxetroV.> on Monday December 03, 2012 @04:47AM (#42166761)

      What you mistake as a lack of social skills is my desire not to pollute my mind with the useless drivel you want to talk about. If that's not normal, then maybe I just don't want to play at being a "good person". I have no desire to be overly social with most humans. There is a big difference between not doing something by choice, and not being able to do something. I socialize quite well with those I wish to. The ones who would like to be social but can't still have an "excuse". Me? I've never made an excuse for not caring about what you think -- Why should I care if you've never given me a reason to? What's odd is the value you humans give to efforts that only result in the needless wasting of your very short lives.

  • by catsidhe ( 454589 ) <catsidhe&gmail,com> on Monday December 03, 2012 @01:55AM (#42166115) Homepage

    I know the trolls are lining up to post "Ass-burgers is fake anyway, I met an Ass-pie once, and he was fine."

    So let me say this first: If you've met an Aspie and dismissed the condition because that person "seemed fine", then please consider that what you didn't see was the countless hours of practice and stress and anxiety of being able to pretend to be that way; the habitual exhaustion from the effort of doing so; the depression and abysmal self-esteem from never, never understanding the people around you or being able to tell whether people actually like you or not. The years of teasing and abuse, the subsequent years of retrospectively realising all the other things which were teasing and abuse at the time but we couldn't tell at the time. The incessant Impostor's Syndrome, which only gets worse the higher you rise -- if you can move forward in your career. Who speak nineteen languages, but get scurvy because they forget to eat. No, seriously: people whose executive dysfunction requires the scheduling of bathing and eating, or else a rigid routine, where even slight interruptions can trigger a panic attack. The meltdowns and fear and frustration and despair.

    And you don't see the ones who don't "seem fine". Who weren't as fortunate as those of us who got a series of lucky breaks and have been able to work around our disabilities and take advantage of our strengths. The ones who killed themselves in despair or ended up on the streets or were institutionalised or are housebound on antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds.

    The DSMV changes to the Autism Spectrum diagnoses have been widely stated by the people writing them to be for the purpose of excluding people from being diagnosed on the spectrum. Because when people started actually looking at how many people had an ASD, it turns out to be much more than anyone thought.

    Obviously it can't be because so many people were swept under the carpet for all those years, so it must be a problem with the definition. Hey, if we change the definition of Cancer to exclude any condition of the skin, that means that all those people with melanomas must be cured, right?

  • by guttentag ( 313541 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @02:34AM (#42166277) Journal
    We're talking about a group whose defining characteristic is that they're antisocial. What this really tells you is that people with Asperger's -- as a group -- were not socially-connected enough to wrangle the politics needed to retain the title. They didn't have friends on the rewrite committee. Being brilliant is one thing. Having the social connections to impose your brilliance on others is another.
    • Re:Antisocial (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @10:27AM (#42168375) Homepage

      It's not that people with Asperger's are anti-social. In fact, many with Asperger's *WANT* to be social. We just don't know how. (Yes, I have Asperger's as does my son.) Think of it as if you suddenly landed on an alien planet with strange and complex customs and social norms. You would likely find simple things in this world funny, but others wouldn't see why. You would commit social blunders that even a "normal" child born in the alien world wouldn't do. Over time, you might be able to slowly learn how to blend in socially, but it would be a chore. You'd constantly have to remind yourself just what to do in each situation.

      Merely remembering them isn't enough. You need to remember and put them into effect on a split second basis. You could manage it, and might even appear "normal", for periods of time, but it would be taxing and you'd need downtime to relax. So you'd be constantly torn between "want to socialize" and "socializing is hard and tiring."

  • Congratulations! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Grismar ( 840501 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @04:21AM (#42166647)
    To all who used to claim to suffer from Asperger Syndrome, but are now miraculously cured since calling yourself autistic doesn't quite have that je ne sais quoi. Seriously though, like parents claiming ADHD for there kids to explain troublesome behavior, this has to have been the #1 claim for self-justification of strange social behaviour of awkward netizens. Even if only for that reason, it's good to see it classified as a serious disorder that's actually no fun at all...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03, 2012 @04:41AM (#42166739)

    Personally, I've never been too comfortable using the term "Asperger's syndrome" given its history. Dr. Asperger was an Austrian pediatrician who developed a clinical interest in psychiatric disorders. He was the medical director of special education in the University Children's Hospital in Vienna. In 1944 he published a description of what we now call Asperger's syndrome.

    By this point, some alarm bells should be ringing in your head. That's at the end of WWII, in an axis country. Sure enough, they were euthanizing children en mass at that facility. Dr. Asperger's role was to determine which would be allowed to live under the eugenics regulations, and which would be killed. I encourage you to re-read the definition of his syndrome with this context in mind... And lest you think he was saving kids, he never objected to his role and kept his job until he retired in 1970. Furthermore, while history is sketchy on exactly who arranged it, 400 disabled children were killed for research purposes (specifically brain dissection), on the order of a pediatrician at Dr. Asperger's hospital...

    Current research shows that Asperger's and Autism are an arbitrary distinction, which one might expect from the history. Also, Grunya Sukhareva discovered the same thing in Russia 18 years earlier.

    To be fair, much of this is connecting the dots from an unclear historic record. Most of the records were destroyed, hence why Dr. Asperger wasn't executed for war crimes. Of course, maybe he heroically tried to save as many children as possible, but there's no evidence for it and he never made that claim.

  • by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @06:51AM (#42167203) Homepage

    I'm unsympathetic and uncommunicative because I don't like you and I think you're all twats.

  • by beaverdownunder ( 1822050 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @10:35AM (#42168461)

    What bothers me the most about modern mental 'disorders' is that they seem to have come about as a result of a 'popular' rejection of Freudian psychology -- in particular, relating to the role of nurture on the psyche.

    The sad truth is, people who are afraid of social rejection probably learned that fear from the actions of their parents. Period. Now, I'm sure all of you self-protective parents are going to shortly mod this post into oblivion, but as someone who fell under the wheels of the 'autistic' bus, only to emerge and prove that diagnosis to be largely unfounded, I am quite adamant about my position.

    If you parent improperly -- if you teach your child that people cannot be trusted -- you will have socially maladjusted children. It's just how it is. Simple cause and effect. Nurture, not nature.

    However, much to my great personal suffering and on-going chagrin, we now live in a society that has decided, at some point along the modern road of ever-sharpening curves, that it's 'unproductive' to criticise parents about their parenting, but impractical to educate them properly, and politically difficult to take their children away from them when they're obviously doing them mental damage.

    This has in turn led to a disastrous multi-generational scenario where children who had bad parents grew up to -- guess what -- be bad parents.

    And now, to make that problem even worse than it already was, the 'powers that be' have decided 'in their infinite wisdom' that the nebulous definition of 'Asperger's Syndrome' could have been leading to 'unproductive' guilt in the minds of the parents of so-'afflicted' children, and that to solve this 'problem', we've opted to move this collection of symptoms over to the autism spectrum in an effort to re-assure these disconcerted parents that it's really a physical problem -- a congenital birth-defect -- and not anything they've personally done to their child.

    To be quite frank, this is bullshit. Parenting is hard -- I understand that, and nobody is questioning that. But no parent should ever be given a 'free pass' to disassociate themselves from their child's social difficulties by being absolved of blame at every turn through bullshit 'diagnosis' that attempt to make everything a 'developmental' problem.

    This does not encourage behaviour change on the part of parents, and only serves to only allow the damage to continue unabated, further aggravated by the ultimate stigmatisation of a child who is ultimately told that they were 'born defective', and that normality will be a hard road, if one even traversable at all.

    The reality is, bad parenting breeds anxious, depressed, socially awkward children. This is obvious to anyone who contemplates it for even but a moment. This is the 'elephant in the room' -- children do not want to blame their parents. Parents do not wish to feel guilt about the lives of their children. So, we all dance around, blaming it on in-vitro 'accidents', or poor genetics -- anything but to face the truth, that socialisation is the ultimate responsibility of parents, and the failure of socialisation lies chiefly at their feet.

    Well, I am here to lay that blame. It will not make me popular. But parents need to know that it may not be a congenital defect, but instead that at a crucial moment, you laid little Nancy down when she needed you most. Nobody wants to deal with that, but for the sake of the child, they should.

  • by MaWeiTao ( 908546 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @11:26AM (#42169077)

    As if Autism Spectrum Disorder isn't already misdiagnosed enough. And Asperger's Syndrome is another one that gets nonsense diagnoses. It's really gotten to a point where a kid who's slightly different will get diagnosed with autism. In fact, I've seen a school try that with a friend's son. I've interacted with this kid many a time; he's perfectly normal. It's like lack of conformity is an illness.

    But I can't help but wonder if there aren't monied interests behind all this. This sort of thing is a huge money-making machine. And it's a convenient scapegoat for parents. Is your kid poorly behaved? Lack of discipline? Give him a disorder and it's no longer your fault.

    What gets me is that no one questions the statistics. In 1980 the autism rate was over 1 in 1000. Earlier this year it was claimed to be 1 in 88. How is that possible? Some of the suspected causes have been disproved. So far nothing in our environment has been found to coincide with this rise. The only thing I can possible think of is the rise of wireless technology. But I think the real culprit is simple misdiagnosis.

    Real autism is nothing like the crap people bring up. A family friend has a daughter with autism, and she can't function without being cared for constantly. She told us an interesting story about New Jersey. It was found that the autism rates there were exceptionally high compared to the rest of the country. Someone did some digging and realized that the reason for this is that parents with autistic kids were moving to the state because that's where a lot of the best research was occurring. That said, I continue to find articles talking about epidemic levels of autism in the state. The reality is even hinted at in some of those articles, but "journalists" would never let those facts get in the way of sensationalism.

A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson