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  1. #21
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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    Another thing that frustrates me , is the lack of good understanding and information, as even sites such as the National Autistic Society have sections such as "Is There A Cure" which further alienates those with Aspergers and suggests that difference and variation is undesirable and should, where possible, be eliminated through a cure. I have in fact contacted the NAS about this issue, but to this day have had no response.

  2. #22
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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    Although you may feel that such a suggestion alienates you, it is very possible that those with far more severe autism that significantly impedes their ability to do things such as talk might find their autism very distressing and would want a cure.

  3. #23
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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    I have met several people with much more severe autism than myself, but not one has desired a cure for autism as they viewed it as an integral part of their identity and so, whilst they have wanted non-patronizing (I've spent my life trying not to commit rather unsaintly acts toward immensely patronizing NHS workers) forms of help and therapy, most have been glad of the fact that they think in a unique way. Also to propose a cure a type of person is as preposterous as asking whether there is a cure for neurotypicality.

  4. #24
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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    It is still possible that there are some who desire a cure, as you can't have met everyone, and there are almost certainly people with more severe autism than you have seen.

  5. #25
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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    Whilst some may desire help with some of the difficulties caused by their Aspergers I do not think that anyone would truly desire a 'cure' for Aspergers.

  6. #26
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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    Ok, if you speak from experience.

  7. #27
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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    In addition to this, I do not think that Aspergers is a disorder of neurotypicality, instead I think that if you were to somehow "cure" Aspergers, you would be left with nothing, as it is the base operating system of the Aspy mind.

  8. #28
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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    According to the DSM-IV and other authoritative sources regarding Asperger Syndrome, one of the key criteria of the diagnosis is that the symptoms and behaviors must be disruptive to the person in their everyday life. Otherwise, it's not really AS, but something else.

    There are demonstrable handicaps in a person with AS that keep them from having productive and normal relationships in society, such as impaired ability to perceive social cues and to process them in a meaningful way, or the inability to determine what is appropriate or inappropriate in many social situations. People with AS tend to have a higher incidence of other psychiatric disorders, especially depression and anxiety or social phobia, that make their lives much more difficult and unsatisfying. Despite the relative lack of empathy that the typical AS person has for other people, it seems difficult to believe that the average person who suffers from AS wouldn't be happier if he or she didn't have problems perceiving or processing social cues, determining the appropriateness of certain behaviors, and enjoyed increased ability to both relate to others and to experience a greater degree of social bonding and closeness with those they choose to interact with.

    I'm not saying that there may not be perceived benefits associated with AS; obviously, the increased aptitude for spatial reasoning and auditory and/or visual perception and memory is a big bonus, as is their passion for whatever it is that they're interested in. However, I am unsure whether these benefits are something that can reasonably be said to be totally bound up in the disadvantages of AS to the degree that they can't be separated and dealt with in different context...

    In other words, why can't we focus on treating the problems associated with AS while either leaving alone or learning how to augment the advantages? What's more, if understanding how to help people with AS overcome their difficulties with interacting with people can help us to understand other ASD better, why shouldn't we take that opportunity and run with it?
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  9. #29
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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    I do not disagree with this statement, I am simply referring to the fact that not only would it be impossible, but also counter-productive, to cure autism.

  10. #30
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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    I disagree with both the premise that it is impossible or undesirable to cure autism. We may not have the ability to do anything about it right now, but that's a totally different idea than saying it's actually impossible to ever develop a cure for autism. I don't think that you've met the burden of proof to support an assertion that finding a cure for autism is actually impossible.

    What's more, I think I've made a pretty strong case that there may be some great benefits to finding ways to cure or treat autism spectrum disorders, especially in people more gravely disabled than those with Asperger Syndrome.

    Since you said that you don't disagree with my points, what are your remaining objections to the idea that finding a cure is both possible and desirable?
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  11. #31
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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    My point, is that autism is something entirely different to neurotypicality and therefore cannot be cured, as this would not leave anything other than an empty husk, in addition, there is the fact that autism (which is analogous to a computer operating system such as linux and therefore different from neurotypicality at a base level) does not necessarily intertwined with some of the difficulties it causes. This means that whilst I think there would be benefits to helping to overcome these difficulties, I do not think that curing autism (something that is neither bad nor good, but neutral) is necessary or desirable, as it needlessly eliminates variety that is arguably vital to the smooth running of an efficient society.

    ---------- Post added at 05:21 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:16 PM ----------

    Also, I disagree with the statement that Autism must be disruptive to every-day life, as many people on the autistic spectrum rarely experience any difficulties, but are still diagnosed due to some of the behavioral traits that they exhibit, albeit in a less severe form.

    ---------- Post added at 05:44 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:21 PM ----------

    Although discussing the point about a "cure" has been remarkably interesting and engaging, I would also like to hear people's opinions on the original question that this thread was created to debate.
    Last edited by mogsawerble4; February 27th, 2013 at 10:28 AM.

  12. #32
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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    I would also be interested to do two other things related to this thread:

    1) I would like to create a poll thread to get a general idea of what many people think (if anyone can tell me how to create a poll thread, please tell me as I cannot work out how to do it)

    2) I would be interested, if someone else was willing, to engage in a 1 on 1 formal debate with me taking the side that Aspergers is a difference, rather than a disorder.

  13. #33
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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    A one on one debate seems a little un-inclusive for a debate forum... Perhaps a panel on either side would prove more exciting, compelling and inclusive to others who feel strongly and want to express their views.

  14. #34
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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    I think you misunderstand me, I am suggesting a formal debate, which I think are usually 1 on 1 (but please correct me if I am wrong, as I am quite new to ODN).

  15. #35
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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    One argument that a psychologist I have spoken to discussed was the point that any difference that caused northern european technological companies to actually headhunt it in workers and actively and openly discriminate against those without that difference, is clearly not a mutation or a disorder, rather an advance in human evolution.

  16. #36
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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    Thoughts for you....

    In Evolution when there is a change in the genome one of 3 things tends to happen. Either it proves a disadvantage in survival/breeding and is weeded out, it proves a significant advantage in survival/breeding and becomes predominant, or it is neither and rattles around the population through inter breeding until one of the former two conditions comes about.

    I'm not sure the word "advance" is ever all that appropriate with evolution. Things either work out or they don't. Advance only makes sense relative to the environment you find yourself in. Gills are great in the water but are no good on the land and so forth. Aspergers may be great in some environments and lousy in others. I think there are times when its probably very useful to have the edges that come with Aspergers and not that hard to manage the challenges.

    Reminds me of a science fiction comedy book Venus on the Half-Shell. In it they explained that in the future, mankind had contacted a countless host of other life forms. And the humans with various psychological deviations we considered problematic, became valuable as they often fit well into the alien societies and thus made excellent diplomats. They gave the example of a scatologist who fit well in the planet of canines as he enjoyed the customary butt sniffing greetings. Silly stuff but it does make the point that sometimes its much better to find a good specialized use for someone different than to try and hammer them into the mold of everyone else.
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  18. #37
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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    I like the last bit of your post and I think that you make a good point about finding specialist uses for unusual people. Sorry about the way I phrased that, it was poorly worded, thank you for correcting me.

  19. #38
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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    I don't know if this should be in the formal debate section, but I would be interested to start a formal debate against any takers.
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  20. #39
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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    I was told by my psychologist two years ago that I likely have functional Asperger's, and could be diagnosed with it if we wanted to pursue that. I answered some questionnaires and read a book about it, and a great deal of it fits my profile. There are varying manifestations and degrees within the condition, but those who are known to have it generally have a number of things in common. I'm in agreement with mogsawerble4 that there could be fundamental aspects of the condition that trying to "remedy" would compromise one's personality, the way you think, etc., and those could be the types of things that you wouldn't want to give up because they are too much a part of you in a positive way. A person can try to adapt to social situations, crowded or noisy places, etc., however the goal wouldn't be to do a straight trade. I'm 50 and I can foresee never being comfortable in noisy or crowded gatherings, or quite understanding the social give and take, or of wanting to or feeling at ease engaging in small talk, or of acting interested in conversation when I'm usually not. This is just a small slice of AS, but it gives you an idea. I also concur with mogsawerble4 (were the first three taken?) that the condition doesn't necessarily have to disrupt one's life, though it would often make things uncomfortable for that person and make it difficult to concentrate under certain conditions. My psychologist also opined that Asperger's is not a negative set of traits per se, rather it can allow a person to do things which others are not disposed to do or capable of. Aspy's can be very focused, determined, resolute, unwavering, and these tendencies can serve them well.

    So, to answer your original question, I would also agree that AS in functional forms is not necessarily a disorder. For more severe cases, people can be non-functional in some respects.
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  22. #40
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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    Well disorder is a subset of difference. A disorder still is a difference. So either way Aspergers is a difference, the question is whether it's a disorder as well. The Oxford dictionary defines a disorder as: an illness that disrupts normal physical or mental functions. Note the word normal. This definition can be simplified to: something that is not normal with the physical or mental functions. By this definition, Aspergers is a disorder as people with this condition are not normal.
    However the social implication of disorder is 'bad'. This may not be the case, as just because something is not normal does not make it bad.
    ' "Losing builds character." You know who said that? A loser. '

 

 
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