Six Reasons Why Aspergers Syndrome Is Not A Disability

There has been a buzz to change the terminology that governs the topic of Asperger’s Syndrome (AS). For a long time there has been a movement underfoot to reclassify Asperger’s Syndrome as a condition of being differently able rather than disabled, and although parents and advocates of AS children may beg to differ, those in favor of changing the classification do make some compelling points.

The top six reasons why Asperger’s Syndrome is not a disability gives an inside glimpse at the workings of the condition and also the struggles individuals facing it have to endure on a daily basis.

1. The mere fact that children are seen paying attention to those things for which they have a general interest, as opposed to those that teachers and behaviorists believe they should notice, does not make Asperger’s Syndrome a disability. Instead, it may be viewed as a tacit nod to absolute honesty in one’s desires and therefore is simply an ability to overcome social conditioning.

2. What has been referred to as latent anti social behavior so often exhibited in young children diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome – characterized by their inability or unwillingness to interact with parents or caregivers extensively – is found to be an expression of their desires to pay more attention to the world of objects as opposed to subjects. This may be attributed to a simply matter of preference, not a disability.

3. What earned children the description of little professors during the experiments that convinced Dr. Asperger of his theories, may not be a disability but could be much more aptly described as a strong interest in a given field of study. This causes the individual to notice nuances others do not and thus renders her or him differently able and perhaps even superior in perception.

4. The systematic organization of things and items may be of unique interest in a child diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. It does not really matter if this is the means of taking a picture with a camera by holding down a button, turning on and off a light, or delving into the intricacies of a physics equation. The problem arises when the system in which the child shows interest is simple, and soon has some clamoring at needing to be outgrown.

5. Routines are another symptom of Asperger’s Syndrome and it has been documented that children have the hardest time functioning in a classroom setting where such order is frequently interrupted or even missing. This may be seen as a disability to some, but others simply believe it to be a sign that the child has a very serious affection for that which it can control versus the unknown.

6. Perhaps the most convincing fact used by those suggesting that Asperger’s Syndrome is not a disability rests in the fact that the mere decision to value one trait or situation more than another is one of personal preference, not one born from a lack of ability. Therefore, a person who does not interact well with others but instead finds it far more important to invest time in physics and other subjects she deems important, may be considered eccentric, but it does not render her disabled.

2 Responses to “Six Reasons Why Aspergers Syndrome Is Not A Disability”

  1. Anusha says:

    I am in total agreement with such a view. I think my daughter displays most of the signs of Aspergers, but my husband and I do not see it as a problem. She is smart and capable, well-behaved and polite and does not get pushed around by peer pressure. She makes friends when she finds other children that don’t play playground politics and are suited to her personality. She is loving and warm child once she is comfortable in a situation. She has strong interests in structured subjects such as English and Maths but we try to encourage her to explore creativity and social issues by talking to both our children, and she is making progress. I was painfully shy as a child but grew up in a society with strong social bonds. My husband tended to be a loner but preferred his independence to group enforced rules. We do not think such traits are disabilities, but can be strengths given an understanding and supportive environment. Social graces and cues are learned behaviour, similar to different socio-cultural norms. I feel it is more important to focus on the negative media and peer influences that affect all our children along with fast changing societal values and structures. Some children that have no idea of social cues may have a disability but others simply choose not to play by the current rules of society. Someone with Aspergers in one culture may be perfectly normal in another, so it can be subjective to context too. My personal opinion is that many ‘disabilities’ such as ADD, ADHD and Asperger’s are simply responses to changes in society, from media to food to family relationships.

  2. PGM says:

    I disagree. If the diagnosis is only mild Aspgerger’s this might hold true, but Asperger’s is like the rest of the autism spectrum and no 2 are alike. My son’s anxiety and social awkwardness go beyond merely having a preference. Going out in public he has to carry earplugs because of sensitivity to noise. We avoided the label for years, knowing that was what was unfolding, but it was always there, even as a toddler. Finally, as a teen, when odd behaviors look odder, we had to get professional help and accept the label. The strength it gives him is immunity to peer pressure, and he is a wonderful young man who is gifted in science. Yet, the things we think are common sense, like using a hot pad to remove a pizza from the oven, don’t occur to him to the point he’s burned himself badly enough to require medical attention. I could go on, but none of it added up to him being able to keep up with his younger brother when it comes to cooking, driving, and independent living tasks. At almost 20, he is not driving, although we’ve been trying. For him it’s a disability.

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