Thursday, February 11, 2010

American Psychiatric Association may classify Asperger's as part of the Autism spectrum

The American Psychiatric Association proposed (Feb. 10) placing Asperger’s syndrome within the diagnosis group of “Autism spectrum disorders”. Letita Stein has a story in the St. Petersburg Times (Florida) today, Feb. 11, link here.

It is certainly controversial to link a diagnosis for someone who functions and communicates normally in an intellectual sense but who does not make social connections easily or read body language or emotion, with profound disability that interferes with most of life’s activities and communications. The article discusses that link.

The article mentions Michael John Carley, author of “Asperger’s From the Inside Out” and chairman of Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership (link)

According to Wikipedia (link), Autism and asperger syndrome have been classified separately within the groujp “pervasive developmental disorders”.

Another possible connection would be Asperger’s syndrome and the so-called “schizoid personality”.

Perhaps this is media hype, but the conventional wisdom is that people engrossed in the computer world or in the arts are more likely to have Asperger’s and be living in their own worlds. Is this real pathology or is this a matter of society’s expectations that everyone “participate” in conventional family and overriding social structures? On the other hand, musicians, including the “classics”, need to do well in social interactions to have successful careers, at least in performance. (How many famous composers had Aspergers?) On the other end of the ability spectrum, it seems that professional actors who are successful when very young do well because they are so good at social interactions. Educators tend to find that performing arts tend to improve social interactions in many kids. Acting is quite different from music in the brain function abilities that it demands.

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