we need a new term for high-functioning autism



Freddie deBoer used to blog at lhote.blogspot.com, and may again someday. Now he blogs here.

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4 Responses

  1. Avatar Francis says:

    as the friend of a family with a profoundly autistic 12-year old, I have a one-word comment on this post.


    [make it two words]


  2. Avatar greginak says:

    Asperger’s Disorder is the phrase you are looking for.

    I completely agree with your post. I had friend who committed suicide. Was the depression that led to that just a wonderfully unique personality quirk. How about the heart defects that my son had?

    It is great to frame things in the positive and want people to be all they can be. But some things are bad. That doesn’t mean a person is ruined, less worthy of respect and dignity or capable of living a life. But some things suck and no amount of euphemism can change that.Report

  3. Avatar EngineerScotty says:

    In the psychology community more generally, there’s lots of discussion concerning subclinical (or “forme fruste”) versions of various mental diagnoses–patients who don’t meet the clinical definition of certain disorders according to the relevant diagnostic manual, but whom are clearly impaired in some fashion. Some in the profession deny the existence (or relevance) of subclinical disorders–if you don’t meet the DSM criteria, there’s not much we can do for you, and are suspicious of any subclinical “diagnosis”. OTOH, this may well prevent many patients from getting help they may need.

    Many medical conditions, in general, are continuous in nature rather than boolean. This is hardly unique to autism; although the phenomenon you note–Asbergers and other high-functioning forms getting more attention from the media or the medical community–may well be.

    How these should be labelled, I don’t know. Certainly, someone who is profoundly autistic and requires round-the-clock care is different from someone who is a bit quirky in his personality; but then again, someone whose blood pressure is 180 over 110 requires different management than one who is 140 over 90–even though both BPs are “high”.Report