Fact sheet on politics and culture of Asperger's syndrome and Autism


Autistic culture

People with Asperger syndrome may refer to themselves in casual conversation as “aspies”, coined by Liane Holliday Willey in 1999, or as an “Aspergian”. The term neurotypical (NT) describes a person whose neurological development and state are typical, and is often used to refer to people who are non-autistic.

A Wired magazine article, The Geek Syndrome, suggested that Aspergers syndrome is more common in the Silicon Valley, a haven for computer scientists and mathematicians. It posited that Aspergers syndrome may be the result of assortative mating by geeks in mathematical and technological areas. Asperger’s syndrome can be found in all occupations, however, and is not limited to those in the math and science fields.


Computers and the Asperger's community

The popularization of the Internet has allowed individuals with Aspergers syndrome to communicate with each other in a way that was not possible to do offline due to the rarity and the geographic dispersal of individuals with Aspergers syndrome. As a result of increasing ability to connect with one another, a subculture of “Aspies” has formed. Internet sites have made it easier for individuals to connect with each other.


Aspergers syndrome as a difference, not a disorder

Some professionals contend that, far from being a disease, Aspergers syndrome is simply the pathologizing of neurodiversity that should be celebrated, understood and accommodated instead of “treated” or “cured”. Autistic people have contributed to a shift in perception of Autism Spectrum Disorders as complex syndromes rather than diseases that must be cured. Proponents of this view reject the notion that there is an ‘ideal’ brain configuration and that any deviation from the norm is pathological. They demand tolerance for what they call their neurodiversity in much the same way physically handicapped people have demanded tolerance. These views are the basis for the autistic rights and autistic pride movements.

Researcher Simon Baron-Cohen has argued that high-functioning autism is a “difference” and is not necessarily a “disability.” He contends that the term “difference” is more neutral, and that this small shift in a term could mean the difference between a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome being received as a family tragedy, or as interesting information, such as learning that a child is left-handed.


Click here to read the fact sheet on autistic politics and culture.
Click here to read about adults with autism.


Button closes fact sheet of Asperger's syndrome information

Click here for the full range of autism and Asperger's fact sheets at www.autism-help.org
Click here to read personal stories by adults living with Asperger's syndrome
This autism fact sheet is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation. It is derivative of autism and Aspergers--related articles at http://en.wikipedia.org

Adults with Asperger's syndrome are increasingly speaking out about how they perceive their role in society, instead of accepting a non-autitistic society's definition