A hundred years ago the modernist era in literature was thriving.
The entire social order of western civilization had just been burned away in a senseless war. Identity had to be created from scratch. You couldn’t just go on being the person you’d been, the world had ended!
Writers like Virginia Woolf and James Joyce and Ford Madox Ford took as their themes this deep into identity, but crucially into identity as defined in opposition or contrast to society at large.
Put bluntly: these people wrote about ND experiences suddenly being valid.
Here in 2021 we are in a similar cultural moment. The old world, where media decides truth, is over. We’re in a post-truth postmodern future, and we are once again in a place where identity itself is broken.
You know, reflecting on how I used to feel before I knew I was autistic and had reasonable but different limits, I think about how often I felt like "I don't want to do X" but did it anyway.
And I think about how "I don't want to" is a box that could hold one of many things.
Now it's never "I don't want to X", it's often "I don't have the energy for X" or "I'd prefer not to have to do X if Y is going to be there" or "Doing X is really loud and therefore painful".
And how before I started getting to know myself I just thought I didn't want to do X.
I used to think "I don't feel good" or "I feel good". Now I think "I'm proud of the work I did today but bothered by my friend's comment and a little bit anxious about that family thing next weekend" etc.
These things can be learned - it's just sometimes we don't learn them.
I still think sometimes about the therapist who didn’t believe I was autistic but was down with me having aspergers. She argued that collapsing the distinction was purely “political” and I didn’t understand enough at the time to see the red flags.
This was in the US.
So yes, medical professionals are still using “aspergers” here, and there are parts of the world where “aspergers” is still diagnosed.
That doesn’t make it ok. We are working to remove it for a reason. It just means “this autistic could speak as a kid.”
If you personally received an aspergers diagnosis that’s great, I’m not saying you’re a nazi.
I’m saying consider the reasons why that phrase was phased out and consider adjusting accordingly.