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

    As a person with Diagnosed High Functioning Aspergers Syndrome and an IQ in the top 0.02% of the population, it has always interested me how in papers and books on the subject (Even specifically about people who are high-functioning) refer to it as a disorder, a disfunction and in some extreme cases a mental condition, Although I do not have particularly severe Aspergers, I may not have access to a full spectrum of the "syndrome", however, I still believe that these classifications are false and alienating for those with non-neurotypical minds. I would though, be interested to hear others' views on the subject, particularly from others on the Autistic spectrum.

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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    Aspergers is not the most serious form of autism, as generally those diagnosed with it retain cognitive development, unlike certain forms whereby the sufferer has impeded mental development... In the case of the more serious autism, those with it have much difficulty with many areas of what we would call everyday life, and so serious autism is a handicap which can be very emotional. Aspergers is more of a difficulty in analysis of social hints, but it can still be very frustrating and distressing for the aspy. However, I think that neither is a disorder, and more a different view of the world, and a different personality, which should be respected as any other. I agree that to brandish those with any sort of autism as having a disorder can encourage hostility and bring forth depression for the sufferer (who feels rejected by society). Thus I agree totally that autism should not be labelled a disorder, and that those with it should be acknowledged as valuable members of society whose different interpretations of the world are just as valid as anyone else's.

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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    I find what you say interesting and thought provoking, but I will also put forward a long held theory of mine:
    I actually believe that people with Aspergers are not emotionally and socially insensitive, It is my opinion based on a wide knowledge of psychology that Aspys are actually hyper-sensitive and therefore have a system similar to a safety cut off system to prevent emotional overload. (in some cases such as mine, this does not seem to work and so many people remark that I am very sensitive both in myself and with others)

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  5. #4
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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    Interesting thought... It would be very intriguing if a professional investigation could be carried out to test your hypothesis...

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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    I am also angered by the way that many books and websites say that there is such thing as normal and that there is an average person with Aspergers, whereas in actual fact Aspys are just as varied as everybody else and I actually believe that to give classifications to "types" of people is preposterous, as all people are equally unique and different from each other.

    ---------- Post added at 02:07 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:06 PM ----------

    I think that it would indeed be intriguing, but difficult to test. perhaps it merits a more formal debate?

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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    Another theory of mine addressing the 1:9 gender inbalance with Aspergers syndrome is:

    I believe that the reason that there are fewer girls and women with Aspergers than men and boys is because whilst males are encouraged to not express emotions and to be "tough", it is more socially accepted for females to openly talk about their emotions and difficulties. I think that this is what leads to more males being diagnosed with Aspergers.

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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    In reply to your hypersensitivity theory: perhaps, although I think that at least some elements of your hypothesis could be put to a scientific test. For instance, a neurological scan of aspergers sufferers being encouraged to think about certain scenarios could allow us to observe whether the areas of the brain related to emotional sensitivity or hurt actually do stop functioning at some point, due to some incorporated overload prevention system. I think that such a system would be quite improbable, and maybe you are suggesting something less concrete that cannot be so easily examined by science... Perhaps a survey of aspergers sufferers could produce more accurate results (although I think that if your theory is correct, the aspy may not be able to acknowledge his/her own inbuilt resistance to emotional overload).

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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    I wonder, as I'm rather new to ODN if you know how to create a poll thread to see what others think about the subject.

    ---------- Post added at 02:20 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:15 PM ----------

    I agree with much of what you are saying, but I do not think such a system as the one I am describing would be improbable, in fact quite the opposite if you examine the complexity of many of the mind and body's systems.

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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    I think that the gender imbalance theory has some potential too, and it serves as a plausible explanation, although you are assuming that diagnosis of aspergers relates to social predisposition and external factors. If aspergers were found to be inherent, I.e. present at birth, or found to be uninfluenced by external factors, then your theory would not be accurate, but yet again, I am merely an amateur in discussing psychological and sociological particulars, and so I cannot be sure whether aspergers is affected by the environment.

    ---------- Post added at 05:24 AM ---------- Previous post was at 05:22 AM ----------

    And about the improbability: I think it improbable that such a complex system is present in only a minority, namely those with aspergers. Although it could be possible that some inherent trait has switched off the system in non-aspys, like some genetic mutations switch off certain functions in certain people... I admit that the idea is not as unlikely as it first seemed.

  11. #10
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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    Many studies conducted so far almost conclusively prove that Aspergers is almost entirely environmentally caused, but there are still some who believe that it is genetic due to some cases where it runs in families, however most psychologists would say that this may be due to traditions or conditions passed through families, which are more common than one might think.

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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    Fair enough. Maybe I've been too presumptive. I apologise for my rashness... As I said, I'm only an amateur.

  13. #12
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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    I am not suggesting that it is a system only found in Aspys, however I am saying that because of emotional hyper-sensitivity in Aspys, causes the activation of this system which is present in many humans and it is the system's activation that is diagnosed as Aspergers.

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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    Interesting thought. I would like to hear the thoughts of a more professional psychologist...

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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    I actually came up with these theories whilst speaking to two very well qualified psychologists, who deal with hundreds of people with ASD, both of whom agreed that these theories seemed the most accurate that they had heard and one of whom went on to publish the emotional fuse cut off system in their doctorate, so these are pretty much the views of professional psychologists.
    Last edited by mogsawerble4; February 25th, 2013 at 09:59 PM.

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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    Ok, I trust your judgement. I was just being inquisitive. It seems like a very feasible theory.

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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    That's ok, it's good to question people and to ask them to give proof rather than blindly accepting everything that you hear.

    ---------- Post added at 03:22 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:38 PM ----------

    Thank You abut77 for your contributions, if anyone else wishes to express their views on the subject,please do, supporting or contrary to mine.
    Last edited by mogsawerble4; February 25th, 2013 at 05:59 AM.

  18. #17
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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    It would also interest me if anyone has any of their own theories (or a critical analysis of mine!) to bring to the discussion.

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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    Thread moved to Formal Discussions for insufficient OP.

    However, the discussion seems really great, so please continue if you want. If you'd like to restart a debate thread on the issue, please feel free to do so by taking a position on the issue and making an argument to support it in the OP of the new thread.

    Welcome to both of you! On behalf of the rest of the staff, I hope you both enjoy your time here at ODN. Please ask one of the staff members if you have any other questions.
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  20. #19
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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    The diagnosis is based on behavior, so if you indeed have extremely good social skills and empathy then its far less likely you will get the diagnosis. It could be you have one of the other symptoms such as an obsession with certain patterns and ideas or a lack of physical dexterity. The diagnosis is kind of broad so you are correct that one person with asperger could well differ even among the criteria for diagnosis from another. Outside the diagnosis it would be assumed there is a wide range of personality possible.

    My pet theory on this is there is a range of useful human cognitive ability that is in some ways interdependent with others. The brain function that is most useful for social interaction is competitive with the part that is useful for physical precise pattern comprehension. Its like a computer program where you can optimize for speed or flexibility and if you go speed then you perform less checking operations, or if you do a lot of condition checking your reactions are much s lower. Both have survival advantages so both directions can be found in the human genome. However because humans are an innately social species, going too far in limiting social skills can be extremely counter productive and thus we label it a disorder.

    Every mind is a bit different and I think its a combination of genetic wiring, learned information, and practiced wiring (that is your brain re-wires itself to a degree as you age and learn because it adapts to be good at what you most often ask it to do). The difference from hardware/software analogies is the brain melds the two ideas pretty freely and below our level of perception most of the time.

    My mind for instance is very good at seeing patterns and understanding connections between things. I both break down systems into their parts and can see the parts as a whole. But I suck at straight memorization. Personally I imagine that all those interconnections I make between ideas make it convoluted and unreliable to get from point A to B. As where others who can connect A to B reliably have a hard time with adding in umpteen other concepts to those two ideas. I think it exhibits in my dyslexia, where my mind can quickly correct spelling automatically such that I can't see the fact its spelled wrong, it jumps straight to the conclusion by taking in multiple possibilities, but that wiring as flexible as it is inaccurate because it auto corrects and the corrections are not always accurate.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

  21. #20
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    Re: Is Aspergers Syndrome Really a Disorder, or a Difference?

    Your theory is very plausible, but one thing that even this short discussion, alongside many other debates and studies, has more certainly ascertained is that the human mind is far more complex than we yet know.

 

 
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