A Touch of Austism…

I have previously discovered that I have some characteristics that are identified with Asperger’s Syndrome which is part of the Autism spectrum. As a result, I have been more deeply studying the topic. I don’t call myself an Aspie as I have not been formally diagnosed with that condition but, I am certain  I have common traits with it.

I have recently discovered that there is a LOT of variation in what people say is the definition of autism. Here is a little more about that:

2016-07-18_17-22-29.pngPerhaps we could detach Asperger’s from autism and say that Aspies are different from other autists the way zoologists say that cheetahs are different from leopards. Let us stipulate the obvious: they are different species.

But in my analogy, naming them as different species does not erase the fact that they belong to a broader category called “big cats” or “predatory felines,” and giving Asperger’s a separate name does not erase the fact that there are large areas of overlap with what I call “deeper autism.”

The above was (I repeat) only an analogy. The point intended is to say: we can change our labels and create a more exclusive definition for autism. But the fact remains: the spectrum is broad because it is describing a fundamental reality.

Autism (broadly defined) is much more common than we thought.

Source:  Why is the autistic spectrum so broad and diverse? – Quora

To me, the classifying of autism is in a funk right now. No one knows just how to classify it. There is now a term labeled “Broader Autism Phenotype” (BAP) that describes people who are “sort of ” autistic but still highly functioning. I think that kinda describes me.

I know there are probably some people who have children with severe forms of autism that resent someone who is, for the most part, a fully functioning member of society using the label.  I can relate to that because when I hear that someone is “deaf” I immediately question if they can hear but not fully understand the spoken word. Many with that condition are labeled as “deaf.” when they are really just hearing impaired. There is a world of difference between the two and so I kinda, but really not too much,  resent them saying they are deaf.

Another example might be that someone proclaims they are a cancer survivor when all that entailed was to have a mole removed. To someone who is struggling with lung cancer that is demeaning of their condition.

I don’t know how this will all eventually work out. We can change our labels but as it presently stands autism is a very broad spectrum because it describes a fundamental reality that there are many of us who struggle with life’s social situations.

I will continue to proclaim that I have some Aspie type characteristics but will not call myself an Aspie. I hope I don’t offend those who struggle with this condition much more than I do.

5 thoughts on “A Touch of Austism…

  • RJ-

    Why label ourselves at all? Especially if the label is not very specific and may have a broad meaning in the culture.

    Labels put us in a “box” and maybe not the box we would put ourselves. It lets others put us in their idea of what the box is.

    For example I can see where saying you are deaf can lead to all kinds of misunderstandings. Deaf from birth can be different from total hearing loss later in life. So perhaps more specifically you might say “I have total hearing loss” which is a different box than “I’m deaf”. I’d guess that many assume deaf = deaf from birth so if you simply say deaf they will assume you were deaf from birth.

    I just got my first hearing aids due to “age related hearing loss”. Which is different from hearing loss due to a medical condition or trauma as it describes a specific type of hearing loss.

    I’ll bet when you say you are deaf some people are surprised since your speech does not necessarily indicate it as people who are deaf from birth often (always?) have unusual speech patterns. (My SIL’s parents are deaf from birth so I have some limited experience with that form of hearing loss)

    I apologize if my example is too personal but it is the one that came to mind.


    • Bob, I have to say that I fundamentally disagree with you on the premise of your post. I don’t disagree in a belligerent way or with everything in your comments. But, since explaining that would be too long for a comment I will revisit the issue in a post in the next couple of weeks. Wait for it.


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