I have done a lot of reading about Asperger’s Syndrome and convinced that I have had many of those typical traits throughout my life, but only in the last decade found that they had a name. Now, the experts have decided that Asperger’s doesn’t exist anymore, it has been swallowed up by the general term autism.
To me, that is about the same as saying that we can’t differentiate between skin cancer and lung cancer. We can now only say that a person has cancer! How ridiculous is that? Another example would be that I have to stop declaring that I drive a Chevy Sonic. After all, don’t all cars perform the same function to get us from one place to another? So, now I can only claim that I have a car.
To lump skin cancer into the same pool as lung cancer does no good for anyone. We, in the same way, need to understand the degrees of autism. Saying I own a Chevy Sonic says much more about me than just saying I am a car owner. It tells you that since I have a sub-compact that is over a decade old that I am probably frugal, care about the environment, and not concerned about status rankings. I think you kinda get the idea.
Saying that I am an Aspie tells you more about me than just saying I am autistic. It tells you that I , for the most part, am a high functioning, likely highly intelligent person, who has certain neurological traits that are different than others, but despite that I am a self-sustaining individual who has no problem living on my own.
I think the medical establishment made a mistake of trying to eliminate the term Asperger’s/Aspie from medicine. Instead, they should be naming other levels of autism so that the public can discern the differences. To lump everything into one generic term is not helpful for neurodiverse people like me.
I’m not saying that Asperger’s (Aspies) was without any negative views among the general population, but I think that most people when they hear the word autism think of a young child crouching in a corner twiddling his fingers and constantly repeating gibberish. One reason for that is that 90+% of the medical research is focused on children, so that is all they hear.
I recently read that the average age of death for people with autism is 38 years old! I’m sure there are some versions of autism where that number is true, but it is blatantly false for other versions. We should be segmenting autism into different levels, not removing descriptions such as Aspies.
I am not ashamed that I am autistic, but just want to qualify that declaration with additional information that more accurately describes me as a person.