Thursday, September 24, 2015

Problems with Lorna Wing

Problems with Lorna Wing

I have personal problems as well as general problems with Lorna Wing.

Lorna Wing created Asperger's syndrome as an interesting new syndrome to try and get people to accept their kids needed at least some services without the stigma of an autism label. Wing played into the binary that autistic people must either be high or low functioning, a binary I reject.

When I was diagnosed in 2007, I was never never told it was a disability because high functioning and quirky and depressed are all your problems! Or lack of problems. You suck with people, but everything else is fine! Except you're depressed, but you're a teenager, of course! Everything was downplayed.

I now call myself autistic. Under the DSM-IV, I would have gotten an autism diagnosis anyway at the age of two or three. But I was 14 when I was diagnosed.

Hans Asperger never called his patients as having Asperger's syndrome. He called their behaviors autistic. He saw a multitude of patients, but up-played all of them to save them from Nazi Germany. It was Lorna Wing who found his works and decided to create Asperger's as a distinction that has had consequences. It is what has enabled organizations to write many of us off as “oh, those high-functioning aspies are at it again saying we shouldn't cure that terrible disease autism!” It is what has enabled people to write individuals with an Asperger's diagnosis off as geniuses needing no services. It has enabled people to say, upon the folding of Asperger's into autism spectrum disorders in the DSM-V, that we're pathologizing normal people and robbing “significantly autistic” people of services. (The link is my response to the article saying that).

Lorna Wing could have told the truth about Kanner creating diagnostic restrictions without evidence. About Bettelheim and Rimland creating interpretations of autistic people without evidence. Instead she created Asperger's, and with it a divide that seems very hard to reconcile. 

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