Cognition & Reality

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Asperger’s Scam

Filed under: Behavioral Genetics,Diagnosis,Psychomyths — drtone @ 10:52 am

Years ago, I spoke with a psychiatrist who was interested in promoting a diagnosis for kids like his son, who was very smart, but socially awkward. This was, like, five minutes before the advent of  “Asperger’s Syndrome.” We have all known kids who were unable to relate to others, had peculiar interests and found themselves picked on. In some contexts, the term for such an individual is “nerd” or “geek.” It’s one thing for peers to hang a label on a kid, but it’s quite another for the medical profession to apply its weight to categorizing someone who is strange or difficult. The last thing a socially awkward, possibly confused child needs is to be labeled by the powers that be. Yet that is exactly what society sanctions with the Asperger’s label. And of course, physicians are not satisfied with labeling, but must also classify. Therefore, “Asperger’s Syndrome” has been officially designated as an “autism-spectrum disorder,” implying that it has some underlying physiological basis, apart from the effects of socialization on an intelligent, clumsy child. In addition, on the basis of no evidence whatever, the “evidence” being that it “runs in families,” this “disorder” is presupposed to be “genetic.”

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