Over the past year I have been going over articles about Asperger's syndrome. Asperger's syndrome is considered to be a highly functioning form of autism yet it is also considered to be a disability. Members of the autism community have worked for years trying to downplay the severity of the disorder. I first heard about Asperger's in 1998 while watching a documentary.
Asperger's disorder was first invented by a German doctor named Hans Asperger. (the disorder was named after him.) Asperger did study on children who though they were bright were considered awkward. The world health organization began to use it shortly after his death in 1980 and then by the American Psychiatric Association when it became an official diagnosis in the early 1990s.
Several states including Maine require that children entering school be screened for Asperger's disorder and the criteria for diagnosis has been expanded and over stretched. In the years following the inclusion of Aspergers into the DSM, diagnosis has skyrocketed throughout the nation.
The diagnostic criteria itself is broad and based on certain traits that have nothing to do with mental state but more on social and economic status. Consider a few of what the DSM-IV considers diagnosis, failure to socialize with peers, restricted repetitive interests and inability to find work.
First there is the failure to socialize with peers, this broad criteria applies mainly to children who are feral, who are victims of bullying and abuse. This can also apply to children who are victims of sexual abuse. One victim was diagnosed because he was sexually assaulted by a classmate at school.
Second, there is restricted interests. People especially children are diagnosed simply because of an obsessive and repetitive interest. Owning a rock collection or collecting stamps falls into this category. The current prime minister of Japan is suspected of having Asperger's because of his interest in Anime. This does not take into account individuals who live in restricted settings where their interests and hobbies are curtailed and limited to a few places.
Third and probably another danger is failure to be employed at a job. This does not take into account, economic situations as well as a lack of educational opportunities. Not having a job can be a way to be diagnosed.
The criteria is dangerous as we will see in that anyone can be labeled with Asperger's and with that lose their freedom. Under this broad criteria, everyone of us is in danger of having our freedom and liberty taken by the state in the name of mental treatment.
Though Asperger's patients are viewed as highly functional and intelligent. The Psychiatric community as a whole does not really see it that way. Asperger's is viewed as a form of mental illness such as schizophrenia, autism and bipolar and even grouped as mental retardation. Many times those labeled with Asperger's find themselves under involuntary commitment, guardianship or other situations where they are deprived of liberty and Independence. Many are committed to institutions, other find themselves homeless or in extreme poverty.
I myself have seen the devastation and have told about it on this blog. Stories about innocent people who, because they are outcasts, because they are different or because they have no job are relegated as second class citizens. They are deprived of their liberty, their property and assets.
The media is 50/50 when it comes to portraying Asperger patients. On some instances you will see news stories about bright young children and maybe a TV show about some character with Aspergers such as Jerry from Boston Legal. On other occasions there is talk of how Asperger sufferers are considered to be marginalized and even violent. Several school shooters including the Columbine kids have been labeled as having Aspergers and the news sensations have not done well in depicting them.
All in all, most have been marginalized or denied freedom all because of a diagnosis of Asperger's. A diagnosis as I have said before that is broad and inaccurate. Aspergers is a good way for the government to control and oppress the innocent and for family members to abuse and persecute their family members. The social security administration has also considered individuals with aspergers to be eligible for SSI and that means they can be scammed and have their assets confiscated using the program.
Rod Parsley and his wife Joni are well known televangelists. Rod is pastor of Breakthrough covenant church in Columbus Ohio and they know full well the devastation of Asperger's. Their son, Austin Chandler was diagnosed with Asperger's at the age of two. The doctors were cold toward the Parsleys. In an interview Joni described the tragedy especially when the doctors gave a list of things that Austin would never do. This included finishing school, getting married, holding a job, driving a car riding a bike ETc.
That certainly doesn't sound like a high functioning disorder doesn't it?
The parents were advised to lock up their son in an institution. The parsleys however were not prepared to go quietly. They did not accept what their doctors said and chose to raise Austin as they saw fit. Today Austin is a bright young teenager in high school with a bright future. He is also planning to enter the ministry.
Not everyone is as fortunate as Austin.
Consider Kyle Prince. A web administrator with a wife and a career and bright future. Kyle was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome by a doctor in Acadia Hospital in Bangor Maine after his father physically coerced him to go. After the diagnosis his father was able to destroy his life. Add to this the death of his wife left him in greater shambles. He lost his job and his home as a result and became homeless.
Kyle was diagnosed because he had been raped as a teenager in high school and was bullied there. The faculty and staff did nothing about this. His parents also did nothing and blamed him for what happened. In all of Kyle's jobs, he was required to perform tasks that someone with Aspergers couldn't. He had to recognize faces, communicate efficiently, socialize ETC. But despite being able to do that he was diagnosed anyways.
Currently he is living off SSI. The checks pay barely enough to survive on and he has had to rely on food pantries and charity to get by. His chances at employment have also been affected harshly since many employers have refused to hire him because he was homeless and because he was receiving SSI. Some have even told him in his face why! Its all because of psychiatry that this happened.
Also consider Nate Tseglin of Huntington Beach. Nate was a bright High school student, he had a black belt in Karate but when his parents moved him to schools in Orange he had trouble adapting and was picked on and ostracized by classmates. School psychiatrists diagnosed him with Aspergers despite his recent accomplishments and even though he had been well liked in other schools.
The school also didn't look at Nate as a high functioning individual either. He was taken out of honor classes and put in special ed classes. He was also forced to take strong psyche meds that caused him to have seizures. His parents tried alternatives that worked such as homeopathic therapy but the school and government mental health workers were not impressed and demanded that nate be put back on his meds. They refused and he was taken away and put in a group home. He also was put back on meds and once more had reactions to them.
Nate Tseglin ran away from the group home after repeated abuse by staff back to his parents. This time the state took him and placed him in Fairview Developmental center, a former mental asylum that was supposed to be a place for helping mentally disabled and severely mentally ill teenagers and adults to be independent. That was not the case. Nate was given worse drugs than before, he was placed in a dorm with violent inmates and was kept locked in an isolation cell with no entertainment and fed sparingly. His doctors wrote that he was invalid and recommended indefinite incarceration in an institution.
The Tseglins found out that another reason they were not allowed to see their son and care for him was because according to staff at Fairview, they had the wrong set of beliefs. The Tseglins defected from the USSR in the 1980s and were activists in their community. The staff claimed that they had bizarre and unhealthy mindsets about the government and psychiatry that had to change.
This ordeal lasted for over a year. After a successful lawsuit and an outcry by local activists including activists on the web like yours truly, Nate was set free. Unfortunately Nate still suffers permanent damage from what happened. He will probably never grow up to meet the potential he once had. The parents are planing a civil suit with help from the Citizens commission on Human rights and the ACLU.
So as we can see dear reader, Asperger's is not about high function, its about marginalizing people who are victims and who are poor. You would think something like this especially involving Kyle Prince could only happen in Islamic dictatorships or some backward village in South America. It happened here in our own nation America the land of the free.
As psychiatrists focus more on promoting tyranny of the state and marginalizing the innocent rather than healing minds, we will see more and more labels aimed at innocent people who are only trying to struggle day by day and we will see even greater tyranny here in America.