We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Well, let's be honest about this issue. 50 years ago an autistic individual was barely able to live without someone to feed him and take care of him 24/7. Now we have expanded autism (the autism spectrum) to cover people who can hold jobs, have families and function pretty well. Was that a good idea? And WHY was that done? The simple answer is there is big bucks in autism for everyone involved, the schools, care givers, families, doctors and other health care workers. We "reward" autism so we have more of it. So I ask again; was that a good idea? That is what created the problem of the stigma and unitary thing. Prior to that decision autism was indeed unitary and rightly defined as a debilitating and incapacitating condition. Now we include almost any mental or physical defect and now we are suddenly concerned that it is defined in a unitary way???
Every self diagnostic test on the internet says I have Asperger's Syndrome.
If they had diagnosed such things when I was a kid I would never have grown into a fully functioning adult member of the community, with a wife, stable marriage, and five successful adult children.
Just because you can identify something in a child doesn't mean you should. When my oldest were starting school teachers tried to tell us our kids were hyperactive. We told the teachers that they were underactive. Kids are kids, not grown ups.
A childhood peer of mine was not diagnosed with Asperger's until he was in his 40s. His single-minded focus on esoteric subjects made elementary and high school difficult for him, as his interests were elsewhere than the classroom. He was able to finish college.
As an adult, this focus has enabled him to have a rather successful career. While what he was interested in as a child didn't help his grades, it turned out that he could make a job and a career out of his interests.
His interpersonal relationships have been up and down- married and divorced several times, with children. He is very good at connecting with old classmates and neighbors.
One thing he had going for him was a very high level of intelligence.
Which sounds like my story. Though after several coinciding bad setbacks in my private life and career both, my autism (which was well suppressed) bloomed/got worse, and combined with severe depression, burnout, and narcolepsy, and bad anxiety attacks caused effectively a full mental breakdown.
THAT took professional help to get over, and I'm still taking anti-depressants and probably will for life (they also help control the narcolepsy).
I'm happy the DSM definition now is what it is, and that the stigmas surrounding autism are disappearing.
Had I got diagnosed as a child I'd likely still have had a good and fulfilling life, but an easier one with career choices that better fit my mental state than the decades I spent trying to fit in as an IT consultant.