>I’ve blogged before about the topsy-turvy ride that Asperger Syndrome, the type of autism I am diagnosed with, has had in terms of diagnostic criteria and inclusion as a “mental disorder”. Earlier, it was mentioned in the media that Asperger Syndrome was to be taken out of the DSM in favour of an all encompassing label of autism. I was supportive of this, because I believed that it is more inclusive to just have the diagnosis be “autism” rather than trying to make an arbitrary distinction based on verbal ability and the talent for “passing” as neurotypical (albeit a possibly eccentric or “odd” one) Now I find that NPR is reporting again on Aspergers in the DSM, found here . Interviewed at home is Allen Frances, who first had Asperger Syndrome included in the DSM. Now, he is second-guessing his decision, and I find his logic, as an autistic layperson with no background in psychiatry, to be, well, odd:
It’s not that Frances doesn’t think that Asperger’s exists and is a real problem for some people; he does. But he also believes the diagnosis is now radically overused in a way that he and his colleagues never intended. And why, in his view, did Asperger’s explode? Primarily, Frances says, because schools created a strange unintentional incentive.”In order to get specialized services, often one-to-one education, a child must have a diagnosis of Asperger’s or some other autistic disorder,” he says.”And so kids who previously might have been considered on the boundary, eccentric, socially shy, but bright and doing well in school would mainstream [into] regular classes,” Frances says. “Now if they get the diagnosis of Asperger’s disorder, [they] get into a special program where they may get $50,000 a year worth of educational services.”
Let’s ignore the implication that Asperger’s is a “problem” for the moment and focus on the meat of this idea: That Asperger Syndrome (And the ‘autism epidemic’) is directly increasing as a result of unfettered greed and an eagerness to milk funds for socially awkward neurotypicals who don’t need all this fancy-shmancy help to get by in society and school.