Hi! Yes, I’m still alive, and once again it’s /that/ time of the year. For this year’s nearly annual post, I’ll be giving my perspective on a few things that come up during Autistic and Asperger’s acceptance month frequently.
Something I see often is the well-met question of why Asperger’s Syndrome was eliminated in favor of a merged diagnosis, often giving the reason there wasn’t significance between the three-pronged diagnoses and that diagnosis was inconsistent. As I’ve posted previously, I’m more supportive of the three-pronged model since it more defines the differences, and I think a continuum model as one diagnosis for all, then the three prongs used as clarifiers/quantifiers to describe the person in particular would be better than the system in place now.
I also hear people say that this merger has not affected those with Asperger’s, nor those who would have been diagnosed as such before DSM 5. I read in a book titled Book of Woe that covered the behind-the-scenes process leading up to the creation of the DSM 5 that 15% of the APA’s membership objected to the removal Asperger’s Syndrome due to fear of people either losing their diagnosis or not qualifying for diagnosis after the change became official. I’ve encountered many people who have told me that they’ve been struggling with getting a formal diagnosis because they fall more in line with Asperger’s than high-functioning or classical diagnosis, and at times the current DSM criteria don’t allow for well-adapted Autistics’ or Aspie’s true selves and difficulties to show. In my case, the mean reason I was diagnosed was because of my special interests being so strong and all-consuming. If I had not gotten that diagnosis, I may not have been on my way to graduating this coming May, nor gotten accommodations at work. The professional who diagnosed me told me if I had been diagnosed sooner I would have had no trouble at all being diagnosed as Aspie, beyond a shadow of a doubt, and shared my hope that AS may one day be re-introduce formally and with clarity to resolve situations like these and mine.
Sometime else that weighs on me around this time of the year is how the news media and individual advocates promote the idea of pushing people like me towards STEM-involved fields without presenting alternative areas for those whose strengths do not lie within that realm. I do understand many are suited for these jobs due to their talents, but it makes me feel bad and down about myself just because I don’t fit the mold of the stereotype that’s perpetuated. A local news report even went as far as to broadly say Autistics and Aspies often have higher than normal IQs; that cut really deep. Reports like this especially make me feel like a poser because the people they show are always so outgoing and extroverted around their peers, while here I am anxious and bashful about even approaching the majority of my coworkers. Put another way, it’s great to be me, but when the stereotypes describe people more successful and productive than you that actually exist, they hurt.
I think there really should be more of a focus on jobs in the arts and writing promoted, there’s gotta be more people out there with this as their knack! There’s so much focus on technology and science, and an ever-decreasing focus on the arts, and that’s no good in general.
With that, I slip back into the shadows once again. See you whenever I have more thoughts I need to let out!