Friday, November 06, 2009

Clinic Notes: So Long Asperger's. I Hardly Got to Know You.

In 1944 Viennese physician Hans Asperger described a sample of children with high functioning autism who had normal intelligence and language, but were socially awkward and obsessed on various topics. In 1994 the term Asperger's Syndrome was added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV. With the autism epidemic more and more children with Asperger's are being diagnosed and treated effectively. Now I have learned that in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (D.S.M.-V) the "experts" are proposing that the term Asperger's Syndrome be eliminated and simply called Autism Spectrum Disorder. Well what could go wrong there? Asperger's is just now being accepted by the public, and more importantly kids who are diagnosed with Asperger's and call themselves Aspies. Furthermore, there are over 200 thousand websites devoted to Asperger's (many maintained by Aspies) and countless books and articles. Are these going to become obsolete by the vote of a committee?