Asperger’s and Autism: Disorder? Disability? Or Difference?
While some folks out there see autism and Asperger’s as disabilities or disorders, while they are busy searching for cures, others like Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen of Cambridge University and Dr. Jim Tanaka of the University of Victoria, BC see these syndromes as conditions. Conditions that do not necessarily call for cures.
While some disabilities are created by the syndrome, certain talents often also result. One examples of this theory is Temple Grandin, a brilliant animal behaviourist with autism.
Baron-Cohen gives the further example of Einstein who said, “I do not socialize because it would distract me from my work.”
He also points out that people on the spectrum are far more interested in how systems work than in social cognition.
Jim Tanaka has done work on facial recognition, and developed new games as a result of his research that help ASD children with social interaction.
He encourages everyone to look at ASD not as a disability but as a difference integral to one’s personality.