With the new release of the updated ICD-11, delayed for some time, it has finally been decided that the term Asperger’s Syndrome will no longer be a diagnostic category to be used by the World Health Organisation. This is of course in line with the earlier revision of the DSM-IV, to the DSM-V, when the APA (American Psychiatric Association) removed the term from their manual.
As I work in the NHS in a team called the ADHD & Asperger’s Team, this revision has some impact on the way clients are considered in light of their Autism Spectrum Condition. The debate has clearly provoked the change, and from my first hand anecdotal experience, it is not those diagnosed that seem to have the biggest issue with these different options.
Personally I do like the term Asperger’s Syndrome as it very quickly separates those diagnosed with Autism into a more specific category and highlights their having generally typical communication and intellectual abilities. To be able to describe Asperger’s using the DSM-V, it involves:
‘Autism Spectrum Disorder without accompanying language impairment, and without accompanying cognitive impairment’
Somewhat of a mouthful it seems!!
Of course it is wholly down to the individual, and any client I work with, I will always endeavour to respect their choice in the matter, and if they want to be called ‘Aspie’ or ‘Burger’ or just ‘John’, then that’s fine by me.
In my work, the individual is the key factor, and when we forget that’s the main focus, the work has lost it’s own focus and power anyway.