Dec 21, 2012
A few weeks ago my daughter's occupational therapist told me that the Asperger diagnosis was going to be taken out of the DSM. People with Asperger's would be diagnosed as autistic from now on. My gut reaction to this news was similar to how many people are reacting: why? and please don't do this. The more I understand why the more I agree with the decision to take away this dx. Before I had a daughter with autism I thought that autism was a devastating diagnosis. I simply did not know enough about the condition to understand just how complicated it is. From my understanding it was a terrible thing. Now that I know more I know that autism does not mean your life is over. I think that many people are resistant to the autism dx over the asperger because autism is generally considered more debilitating. I don't believe that it has to be this way. Given the right circumstances an autistic person can become a highly valued member of society. But, just as any person given neglect and abuse, may possibly turn into a sad, dangerous person.
The main reason I support the decision to take away the Asperger dx is that more people can get help. It is incredibly difficult to get a private insurance company to cover autism therapy, let alone asperger therapy. It is a daily fight for some special parents to get schools to take their child's condition seriously. I really do believe that this will give more developmentally delayed/disabled people a chance. The worst thing we can do as a society is overlook/ignore a child who needs extra help. It happens too often. I am very thankful that my daughter attends a school with a special ed room in the building. She can acclimate to the regular classroom as slowly or quickly as she wants. She is met at her level, while still being challenged. We moved to this school district because we knew they would take care of her.
I don't think that parents and families should be afraid of an autism dx, but welcome it. I used to be scared of it, but it has helped my daughter so much. I no longer need to have long discussions about what is wrong with my daughter, but what we CAN DO to help her. I feel like she is actually going somewhere. She is making progress. The one question that haunts me is "what causes autism?" I will most likely never know, but still I wonder. I wish I knew, but I try not to think about it. I'm not a scientist and it is one question I cannot answer.