Monday, February 15, 2010

Under the Autism Umbrella: What to make of the DSM V

used without permission by Emindeath

On February 10th, the APA announced a huge change in the upcoming DSM-V. They said that Asperger's Syndrome would now be considered part of Autism and does not merit a separate diagnosis.

I think a few of us, myself included, all said, "WOW".
But I didn't say wow because I thought, "What took them so long?" I said wow because, "I don't want to lose that identity of having Asperger's."

Alot of Aspies and Aspie parents are outraged, as they do not want themselves or their children labeled as "autistic". I found that a little weird as I always considered Asperger's as a high functioning form of autism. I always said Nathan to be on the spectrum. I never referred to autism in a negative light. I call him autistic, but refer to him as having Asperger's.

I feel people are afraid of losing that particular and special identity that comes with being an Aspie. I have a similar fear. We do not want to be swept under the rug of autism, never to be individuals again. Having Asperger's makes our children (or ourselves) who they are. They're quirky, unique, different.

The cause for concern is being placed in the same category as those low functioning autistics who may shriek, may have toileting issues, may do self harm. These children seem to have no personality, no special spark, nothing which makes them different. They all seem the same to others.

But they aren't the same.

Autism is a unique syndrome where people all have the same diagnosis, but their symptoms aren't . Autistics all "present" differently. High, medium or low functioning autistic children all have something amazing and magical in them, regardless of what the DSM-IV or the upcoming DSM-V refer to them as. These children all have unique and special gifts given to them and they share them with their families, friends and the whole world. I don't think being under the umbrella of autism is a bad thing. I don't think being referred to as autistic is a bad thing. I think William Shakespeare said it best,

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

Regardless of what we refer to ourselves or our children as, they will still be ours, and will still have the incredible quirks and nuances which make them who they are. Autism has given them these unique identities and personalities and changing the name, location, definition or classification in the DSM does not alter that.

We can still have our Asperger's umbrella, or our Rett's Syndrome umbrealla or our PDD-NOS umbrella, but now we may potentially be under a bigger umbrella. But we still have our first umbrella, and we won't lose that.

Thanks to Rihanna, she said:

"These fancy things, will never come in betweenyou're part of my entity, here for infinity"

Be fierce and proud of your unique umbrella.

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  1. I also feel the same way. Being labeled an autistic or an aspie is all the same. What is there in the name? We will all be the same, children with AS tend to notice the changes that take place in the environment or in well known images very soon. But their social skills are very low, they find it hard to interact with people. But any either you’re called a autistic or an aspie, you will always have an identity of your own. We can all be happy about that.

  2. Yes, I too agree with Jerry. Asperger syndrome is a developmental disorder that influences a child's capability to socialize and communicate efficiently with others.

  3. @skyler: I understand there is a big difference between autistic and aspie children, and that if this change goes into effect, we'll all be under the same umbrella.

    Some people feel they will lose their Aspie identities if this happens, but my point is that you won't lose your identity, just perhaps the name it was referred to. Changing a name of something doesn't change what it is.

  4. @jerry: We should all celebrate who we are and what we are, regardless of what the DSM refers to us as.