I understand some of the logic behind the elimination of an Asperger’s diagnosis. Autism is a spectrum disorder and the symptoms and severity don’t just vary from person to person. It varies over the course of a lifetime. Therapies, medications and techniques to help people on the spectrum are equally diverse and effective. A diagnosis of Autism Spectrum instead of one of several choices seems like a logical choice if you need to simplify insurance, records and explanations. This is a good choice for everyone who doesn’t want to understand the Autism Spectrum.
I always say that Tommy has Autism when I first meet someone. If they are genuinely interested in hearing more, I explain Asperger’s. If I meet someone who is in the special needs community, I start out saying Asperger’s. People in the special needs community are usually more interested in information and experiences than people who aren’t directly affected by someone who is labeled with a diagnosis or three. We know that a label doesn’t define a person and need a lot more information.
Asperger’s is more descriptive than Autism. It’s like the difference between saying dog and saying Corgi. (I’m not calling people dogs. Don’t get your undies in a twist.) If you are a Doctor or a parent, wouldn’t you want the best description available to help you narrow your focus on how to help your child? The “no diagnostic tool to differentiate between Autism and Asperger’s” seems like a problem that could be overcome. The difference is observable and should be measurable by quality and quantity of interactions versus disengagement from environment. As soon as the only diagnosis is Autism Spectrum, we return to having to constantly explain our children because they don’t fit someone’s preconceived notion of Autism.
Parents don’t prefer the diagnosis of Asperger’s because it sounds less permanent than Autism. We embrace the Autism Spectrum. We just like accuracy. Autism is accurate. Asperger’s is MORE accurate.