Autism and Asperger Syndrome

CoverIn my last post I talked about movies with fictional characters with autism. There’s been a lot of news coverage lately of how people with autism and Aspergers get on in the real world.

There are many sides to the argument – so we turned to the Source to explore the issue.

In real life as in film, we continue to struggle with our understanding of autism. Is it caused by vaccinations? Are people with Asperger Syndrome criminally responsible if they hack into computer systems, or steal light fittings in the Red Zone?

Does Asperger Syndrome even exist? The creators of the DSM (the diagnostic manual used by psychiatrists)  suggested quite recently that definitions of Asperger Syndrome were too varied to codify and therefore might be left out of the next one altogether –  which would have meant it officially ceasing to exist. Not a move likely to be welcomed by those who now define themselves as ‘aspies’.

Then there are the young men caught in the criminal system who argue that obsessions are, by definition, part of the syndrome and that therefore they cannot be held entirely responsible for their behaviour. I have some sympathy for this view. I once worked in an institution where an autistic man had developed an obsession with socks. He collected them from all the bedrooms. The manager finally had padlocks installed to stop him, but someone else with an obsession for collecting metal filed them off again. Neither of them had any hope of understanding the effect they had on others, which was fortunately negligible.

The whole vaccination issue is even more difficult. Is fear of vaccinations causing outbreaks of diseases like measles? Or are the vaccinations causing an epidemic of autism?

Whichever side of the argument you are on, its always interesting to find out more, either by delving into The Source, reading a book, or just sitting down and watching a good film.

4 thoughts on “Autism and Asperger Syndrome

  1. Amanda 3 August 2011 / 4:40 pm

    “Is it caused by vaccinations?”

    That’s a terribly mendacious question, considering Andrew Wakefield has thoroughly been debunked.

    Do vaccinations work? Two watersheds in history for you: small pox and polio.

  2. SF 3 August 2011 / 8:00 pm

    I can’t believe a LIBRARY of all places is repeating such anti-science propaganda. There is absolutely no evidence, NONE, that vaccines cause autism. Given the measles outbreak in Auckland right now, it is completely irresponsible for someone speaking on behalf of an institution of knowledge to lend credibility to such nonsense.

    I suppose next we’ll be examining the controversial question of whether gravity causes apples?

  3. berniceccl 5 August 2011 / 11:15 am

    Thanks for your comments. I wasn’t trying to cause any offence, or endorse any particular point of view. My intention was to raise questions that people ask (valid or not) and point to reliable and credible resources which can help answer their questions. I searched in The Stuff Website, Google, Wikipedia, and Opposing Viewpoints in Context and despite all the evidence, the question is still being raised. I was hoping that by encouraging people to look into the issue they would reach the sensible conclusion. In retrospect we could have answered our own question to avoid any confusion, so apologies for that.

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