Aspergers Syndrome, ASD, Aspergers Disorder, Classic Autism, High Functioning Autism PDD-NOS.
A bunch of labels, some considered current, some considered not current. Some used in Australia, some in the USA, some in the UK. And I confess not sure about other places. It’s been a couple of years now and the DSMV has taken hold and we are seeing a difference in the labels Âûtistic people are given as they are diagnosed.
There are some clinicians who continue to run with the DSMIV terminology. There are I guess reasons behind these decisions.
There are some new labels too. SPD, sensory processing disorder now has it’s own little category or listing in the holy of holies, DSMV. But then there is that other manual of disorders – the one that I can’t recall the name of, it is the manual used, I believe in the UK.
***Edit*** SPD is not a new label in DSM at this point. Apologies for the error. I was looking at SCD Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder. I won’t go into the details of what this is, something perhaps for another post. ***Edit End***
We have sectionalisation. So in Australia and the USA, you pretty much will not be given an Asperger Syndrome diagnosis, but in the UK you will. This is all getting rather confusing now isn’t it.
Of course you can go with the argument that the DSMV didn’t actually remove Aspergers but renamed it to that roll of the tongue name of Autism Spectrum Disorder Level One Minimal Support Required. Yes a nice little mouthful but again just another label.
So Many Labels.
Why so many labels. It’s confusing. A confusing enough situation for those of us who part of the Âûtistic community, surely even more so to our allies and families. So are you Âûtistic? or is it that other thing, um, what is it, um, Aspergers is it?
A few minutes on Facebook and one can quickly discover a massive number of Âûtism groups, with a plethora of labels. Many many will have labels like Adults with Aspergers, Asperger Syndrome Something or other, Aspergers, Autism Group, Spectrummites. The range is endless. Nothing wrong with that of course and it conforms to out diversity I guess.
Then of course is the pejorative labels of high functioning and low functioning. Bloody unhelpful and inaccurate labels as Âûtistic people just like Neurotypical people have a range of functioning levels depending on the situation, the day, even the hour or minute.
I think there is one label that we may need to consider the idea of it going away. I expect I will face opposition on this point, but I think perhaps it is in our interest to do so. To accept that we are all of the same group, that there is no better or worse form of Autism. That is is all just Autism. It is all just being Neurodivergent.
I speak of course of Aspergers. It’s already removed from the diagnostic material and if the rumours I hear are correct it will be in the updated material of the UK before long too.
This is a big call, I know it! I get it! There are a couple of generations of Âûtistic people who have identified as Aspies, as Aspergers, and I do understand that this is a big thing. I don’t say it lightly. I think it is important and it is about us not merging our endless divesrity like the endless colours, but ensuring that our endless colours are indeed viewed as a part of the same spectrum and not different spectrums.
Yes I hear you all saying. Why would I suggest such a thing. Well I have been thinking for a while about this issue and a few things have contributed to my thinking.
- I am convinced we as the Âûtistic community need to unite together and stand strong for our identity, respect and our voice. Especially against the massive influence of cure culture in the Allistic community and the #lessnotdifferent narrative that is spewed forth from everyone’s favourite organisation Autism$peaks.
- I have been becoming more aware of a sense of difference coming from within the Aspie community that has a sense of, well I am okay because I am an Aspie but it must be so hard for those low functioning types that can’t communicate etc. I find this reprehensible. Yes I know it is not universal but I do seem to keep hearing it.
- Because the Allistic society and the medical fraternity etc would like to separate us with functioning levels and distinctions based on communication methods we must, I think, work to unite.
There is much at stake!
Well there is much at stake here I believe. A friend of mine has been vilified for daring to stand up against the evils of MMS and Bleaching on internet radio. In that she was labelled as unable to understand a basic protocol. I see friends labelled as incapable of knowing what they are doing, or what they need simply because they don’t speak with their mouth parts.
We as the Âûtistic community live in an allistic society that wants us to fit in and just be like them, or alternatively, just shut up about our difference. It is so much harder to that from a tangential bunch of groupings than as a single united forceful voice.
My personal perspective is that I may have been labelled as an Aspie, but due to the timing of my formal diagnosis I get the wonderful label of HFA – High Functioning Autism. It’s such a meaningless label anyway.
Labels are important. They really are. You often hear the opposition of well I don’t want my child labelled etc, because they are more than that. Well my view was, I sought formal diagnosis because I felt I needed that label, I needed it for legitimacy in myself, I acknowledge we don’t all need that, but for me I needed it. Probably more to do with my personal history of life than anything else.
Our Âûtistic community is a strong community and growing in strength as we advocate with more volume, more passion and more ammunition and numbers as time goes on. This is true regardless of the particular label we have, however I think that there is a feeling that there are multiple groups we can separate and conquer.
Here in Australia there is a construction workers union who has a slogan of “touch on touch all.” The meaning is clear, if you hurt one of our members you hurt us all and we will stand united. I think we as a community should ensure that this situation is the same for our community. That if one of us is hurt we are all hurt and will stand united for our brother and sister Âûtistics.
Let’s dispense with all the other labels, let’s dispense with our notion of who might be more capable than others and stand with a single label. A single identifier. Let us just say:
That’s it. Âûtistic and proud. Âûtistic and passionate. Âûtistic and human. Âûtistic and #DifferentNotLess Âûtistic and #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs.