Thoughts On Asperger’s


After many years of curiosity, I took a detailed Asperger’s test on-line. This graph shows the results. When I discussed the possibility with my psychiatrist, he said “It’s entirely possible,” but shied away from a definitive diagnosis, for that takes a team, and has a high cost, in terms of time and money, as well.

Many (I’m one) view Asperger’s as a difference, not a disorder, nor disease, in need of treatment or cure. (What we need is for the rest of the world to begin behaving logically, but that’s a separate rant.) I suspect my doctor agrees with this, which would be an additional, understandable reason for him not to liberally hand out “Asperger’s” labels.

I know this much: I either have it, or I share a lot of characteristics with those who do. I also know that a difference which makes no difference is not a real difference. I therefore see no reason to shell out thousands of dollars for a useless diagnosis. Why would it be useless? Well, there is no treatment, and I wouldn’t want one if it became available, anyway. I’m used to being this way, I like who I am, and am not remotely interested in being more like most people.

Other people (many of them, anyway) drive me nuts, for more reasons than I could easily list, but “they care what others think” is near the top, and is surely the most baffling of these reasons, to me.

Most diagnosed Aspies I’ve met are, by contrast, comforting for me to talk to. Since we find the same things about social life bizarre, it’s much like talking to people from the same planet as my own who have found themselves on this alien world called Earth, uncertain how we got here. It’s a lonely existence (no matter how many friends surround you, for you’re still trapped in your own head), and it helps, somehow, to talk to others with similar perceptions.

I have run into a small number of Aspies who dislike those who consider themselves to be part of the Aspie community, as I do, yet have not had a formal diagnosis. One benefit of being like I am, though, is that it is incredibly easy for me to disregard what particular people think, feel, or say — if I simply choose to — and that is what I have done with the small number of “Aspie Exclusives.” Their attitudes only affect me if I allow that to happen, and I simply choose not to do that.

The bottom line is this: so far, studying Asperger’s helps me understand myself. It clears up many long-standing puzzles when I see that my years of talk about “the normals” is a excellent match for the way Aspies describe, and discuss, what they call “neurotypicals.” I’m not a big fan of the term “neurotypical,” though, for it seems like a condescending and vaguely-insulting term to me, and I do not see that as helpful to anyone, inside or outside the Aspie community. (I do understand the motivation for it, though, for my motives were similar when I talked about “the normals,” in years long past.) My proposal for an alternative term is non-judgmental, and non-insulting, but remains accurate, and is simple in the extreme: I refer to the people who are not Aspies by the clear, concise, easy-to-understand term, “non-Aspies,” or, when a more formal term is called for, “people without Asperger’s.”

I also don’t care to seek an official diagnosis — because that whole enterprise completely misses the point. Aspies aren’t defective, except in the sense that all people are, with the defects (and strengths) simply in different areas. There could simply be an Asperger’s mutation, which could be the beginning of a long process of speciation. If homo aspergerus is coming, it won’t be here for a long time — speciation takes a long time to happen, but happen it does. Evolution doesn’t stop. Evolution also doesn’t guarantee improvement. New species (of any animal) will be different (or they wouldn’t be new species), but that doesn’t make them “superior” or “more evolved.” Every living thing on earth, after all, has been evolving for the same amount of time: ~3.85 billion years.

I will oppose any efforts to “cure” Asperger’s because, well, that would be genocide. I will also oppose any who try to label hypothetical new species as inherently superior, or inferior. We’ve been down that road enough times, throughout history, to see where it leads, and no sane person, Aspie or not, would want to venture further in that direction.