Autism or Asperger’s which is it? Well that depends on where & when you were/are diagnosed.
In 2013 the US made a switch to the DSM-5. The medical coldness and pathology in this document still makes my skin crawl. It is so negative and one-sided. I wish for every bad thing they listed they could add some of the skills that you can look for and encourage in Autistic children.
Other countries use other similar diagnostic manuals.
This switch has caused a great deal of confusion because of the way it eliminated Asperger’s, lumping it into the Autism Spectrum.
Now in the US, depending on when you were diagnosed, there is no Asperger’s – we are all Autistic. Random Aspie fact – some people diagnosed pre 2013 with Asperger’s choose to say they have Asperger’s and others choose to tell people they are Autistic.
People were starting to understand Asperger’s as nerds but the new Autism terminology carries a totally different set of stereotypes and stigmas. Before when you told someone you had Asperger’s they could almost accept it sometimes.
Now if you tell them you are Autistic they immediately doubt you (only because they do not understand what Autism really is).
Going by the old diagnostic manual I would have Asperger’s because I was practically born reading and speaking (despite not knowing what I was even saying half the time). Fairly classic, a child lost in her own world of things and thoughts.
I had a fragile appearance and a cold serious blank face. Somehow my relaxed face always prompted people to ask me if I was alright. Apparently I appeared uncomfortable. I’ve since learned to match my face better to the situation.
When asked about topics of interest I could ramble on about them endlessly. My grandparents thought I was cute and my mother thought I was a wise ass. I was a “smart kid who didn’t try hard enough”.
Nobody noticed my invisible struggles, my sensory sensitivities, my poor coordination, lack of organization, and troubles making friends. The social things always were dismissed as long as I kept everything else in line. I was “too smart” and “lazy” and a million other names.
Only a few years ago did I solve the mystery – I first learned about Autism – really learned about it and understood what it was. I’d heard about Autism before but only in a very medical way. Hearing my life like this did not set off any alarms.
What shook me awake before and after my diagnosis were the voices of other Aspies on the internet and in books. Reading things from their perspectives was like reading things from my own perspective. Things I thought were unique struggles to me are very common Aspie troubles.
This is why I encourage every one of you to write and share your stories – because people NEED to hear them. If the Aspies before me had not done the work to share their Autism stories I would still be lost and this blog would not exist.
These little ripples can turn into big waves. Make waves. You are not alone.
It doesn’t matter to me if I’m Autistic or Asperger’s. We’re all in this together and regardless of our labels do share many of the same experiences.