Friday, May 04, 2018

Asperger accused of Nazi collaboration

Asperger syndrome was dropped from the psychiatric manuals in 2013. It did not have a coherent definition.

In popular culture, it is known as "Asperger's", and popularized by TV shows like The Big Bang Theory. In fact the characters on that show were never intended to have Asperger syndrome, and they do not match what used to be the diagnostic criteria.

So now the term "Asperger's" has become an amateur psychobabble term for putting down nerds.

And now a new book claims that we should not use the term because the Austrian Asperger was a Nazi collaborator.

Edith Sheffer writes in SciAm:
Millions of people are identified with Asperger’s syndrome, as a diagnosis, an identity and even an adjective. Asperger’s name has permeated our culture—yet I believe we should no longer invoke it.

Naming medical diagnoses after individuals is an honor, meant to recognize those who discover conditions and to commend their work. ...

Personally, I agree with the reclassification of the Asperger’s diagnosis. For a psychiatric diagnosis, the subdivisions never made sense for my son, and got in the way of his care.
I don't care whether Asperger was a Nazi, but I do think that the term is just a slur to pathologize male behavior.

Supposedly Asperger boys are defective because they cannot read the minds of girls.

The TV show does mock various stereotypical behavior, such as male nerds, ditzy females, Jews, physicists, and Indians. But the males (who supposedly have Asperger's) do not have any more a a psychological disorder than the females.

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