Asperger’s Not a “Mythical Flavor-of-the-Month Virus”

Recently, I’ve found some extremely disturbing opinion pages (and some quotes found in actual articles) in which an individual passes Asperger’s syndrome off as some sort of “mythical flavor-of-the-month virus.” This type of statement demeans the unique challenges that many of us face in addition to making apparent the ignorance of the individual who made the statement.
Jim Knipfel of the New York Press writes

The day after I received the story about the guy with brain atrophy, a few hours after I stopped believing I had MS, I received another email. This one was from Grinch, who mentioned in passing something about Asperger’s Syndrome, one of those mysterious, mythical flavor-of-the-month viruses or diseases, like Epstein-Barr or ADD that everyone seems to be catching. It’s loosely linked to autism, which is also hard to clearly define. According to Grinch, symptoms include a lack of compassion for others, no consideration of the results of one’s actions and socially inappropriate behavior.

Just sounds like a fancy term for sociopathology, I thought—which, of course, is exactly what it is. Then, just out of curiosity, I looked it up on one of those “disease symptom” websites—Christ, but there are a lot of those out there—and found a few more symptoms:

• Monomania

• Irrationally clinging to a series of unbreakable patterns and schedules

• Normal language development, but trouble communicating in social situations

It didn’t matter that those symptoms, and the disease itself, were meant to apply mostly to children. Suddenly I knew I had this, too. Too many of the symptoms were present, and had been present for as long as I could remember. It would explain an awful lot. (Those disease symptom websites, by the way, are evil, evil things.)

As far as the MS is concerned, I guess I’ll just wait and see. It would be fucking typical, though.

This man should be ashamed of himself. Another article from the Cincinnati Enquirer quotes an individual who says “I think people now use the label of Asperger’s Syndrome, (a type of mild autism), to justify socially inappropriate behavior.”

These types of comments don’t help anyone and hurt those who are suffering. I wish these “content providers” would be more responsible in writing articles about Asperger’s Syndrome.

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