I need to talk about why I continue to use the term Aspie. It’s a relatively unpopular choice, considering the changes in diagnostic criteria in recent years.
I’m angry, I guess, at the short sighted change in the DSM-V. (Also late to the party, but, hey, it’s on my mind now, because of a recent unpleasant experience.)
I have Asperger’s. It significantly impacts my life, especially socially. Gods does it ever and it always has. It always will. I don’t understand the way people… work… I guess, not in the moment. If I have time to think about it I can apply my learned knowledge to past situations. (probably why I’m good at this writing thing) But in the moment, when I’m supposed to react a certain ‘socially acceptable/normal’ way, I’ll usually feck it up. I don’t have a lot of friends because of this. I have emotional rules that I follow, I have repetitive behaviors and encyclopedic knowledge of certain aspects of life. In short, I’m Aspie. High functioning autistic. (Yes, I know the kerfluffle about the term High Functioning too, I’m not sure I care anymore.)
Dr. Asperger did so much research and classification on this subset of what is now classified as Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Regardless of how badly I’m affected in my life by what is clearly a version of ASD, I’m not classified as autistic. Neither are my kids. Not anymore.
We’ve been told that ‘if Asperger’s were still an acceptable diagnosis, you’d definitely fit the bill’. But, it isn’t, so basically fuck you very much and we’re going to condescend to you because, and here’s the kicker…
You’re Autistic, but you’re not Autistic enough.
You’re normal enough to function on a scale higher than we have for ASD diagnosis.
What this means, on the ground and in the experience of Asperger’s is that I and my kids, despite being on the old spectrum of ASD diagnosis, are now left out in the cold when it comes to accessing help.
Talk about erasure.
There’s a whole subset of people now, just like me and my family, who no longer have even that slip of paper that explains why we’re different. It wasn’t much, but it was knowledge and it was something we could wave in the faces of HR when we fuck up something socially so we wouldn’t lose our livelihoods.
It was something. Now, because we’re normal enough to blend, to almost get by in society (it’s a daily fucking struggle, I’ll tell you that as fact). We don’t exist to the general world of ASD.
It’s a spectrum for a reason, a spectrum means you’re going to have people who fall on the extremes of both ends and everywhere in the middle.
That’s why I still use the term Aspie, and why I’ll continue to do so. Even if the medical community at large no longer recognizes my existence, my difficulties, I’m still here.
I still exist.