I read Bev’s latest blog entry bemused and increasingly dismayed. I thought (hoped) maybe she was wrong and had grasped the wrong end of the stick but not only is that unlikely coming from Bev it was wrong. She was spot on. There really were, I realised to my dawning amazement, people with an Aspergers diagnosis who were upset at the possibility of the DSM (V) placing them inside an overall category of ‘autism’. And not for any particularly legitimate reason but mostly because they didn’t want to be associated with the people who I’ve heard them describe as ‘low functioning’.
The comments I read under the story featuring Michael John Carely of GRASP for example pointed towards an internal selfishness bordering on disgust for those who already share their place on the spectrum.
A stunningly nasty comment on this blog illustrates the issue even more handily:
Medical science used to have morons, idiots and imbeciles to describe people with defective brains, but those words became pejoratives, and mentally retarded was substituted. Then mentally retarded became a pejorative, and that got switched to developmentally disabled. Many parents with children born with defective brains glommed onto “autistic” because it had more cachét than retarded or fetal alcohol syndrome or brain damaged, perverting the word autistic and turning it into a new synonym for retarded.
So I don’t want to be called “autistic”. I prefer the distinction Asperger’s brings me; that I am endowed with a different brain, not suffering from a defective brain.
The only positive thing you can say about this commenter is at least they are being totally honest. I’ve read an uncomfortable amount of comments from aspies over the last few days that skirt around the exact same feeling but just don’t come out and say it quite so blatantly.
I know for a fact that not all aspies feel like this but I think those that don’t need to follow Bev’s example and come out and say so. Loudly and clearly. I don’t believe that aspies who want to disassociate themselves from their autistic comrades deserve any part in a movement like neurodiversity. I hope, I believe, that the aspies I count amongst my friends and colleagues feel that way too.