When I got married I decided not to change my name. Part of it was shear laziness… all those pieces of ID I would have to change. Part of it was being cheap… 25 for a new license. No thanks. But a bigger part of it was identity. I felt attached to my last name and did not want to change it. It was part of me and tells people about me. It can give people an idea of heritage or perhaps an idea of who I am related to. The great thing was that it was my decision. What happens when an individual is forced to change how they call themselves?
Although it is not their last name; diagnosis like Asperger’s, high functioning Autism or Aspie’s for some individuals provide a piece of their identity.
The latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental disorders the DSM-5 reflects this dilemma. The DSM-5 officially eliminated the Asperger’s syndrome diagnosis. The reasoning behind the change was that there was not consistency in the way Asperger’s was diagnosed. Whether an individual received a diagnosis of Asperger’s or Autism depended on the clinic they were seen at or who was doing the diagnosing. One of the hopes behind the change is that it will create a common language that can be used when talking with the school systems, the medical systems, parents and individuals with the diagnosis. But what will this change mean to individuals with Asperger’s and their families.
We could through a list of advantages and disadvantages that have been cited in the research. However my interest is in how this will impact those individuals I met who have used their diagnosis as a way to understand themselves and teach others about them. My thought is although it may not be official we continue to respect the name they give to themselves. Whether it be Asperger’s or high functioning Autism?