There has been a lot of discussion amongst the Autistic community recently regarding the groundbreaking contributor to the understanding of Autism – Hans Asperger.
It has been unearthed that the man – which the term Aspergers is named after – was an active participant in the Nazi euthanasia regime. A study paper has been released by Herwig Czech which details his findings that Hans Asperger frequently referred children to the Am Spiegelgrund clinic as he deemed them, ‘unworthy to live’. Nearly 800 children died at the Am Spiegelgrund clinic between 1940-1945; a heartbreaking truth.
This new uncovered evidence has sparked the argument as to whether it is politically correct to continue naming a diagnosis’ after a Nazi party ally. More importantly, do people wish to be labelled by a word which has now been tainted?
My own opinion is that I am not bothered by the term Aspergers or being labelled as such. For me it is a word used to describe my diagnosis. I do not associate it with Hans and his unforgivable crimes. However, I can see why many now find the term offensive.
I think if we do stop using the term Aspergers then a new term should take its place. What this term would be, I do not know. Being an ‘Aspie’ makes me feel like part of a community – like I’m a part of a secret that only a select few share and understand.
I have found that if I inform people I have Autism they respond, “you don’t seem Autistic” but, if I inform them I have Aspergers the majority will then ask what it is and are willing to listen and learn. I find it helpful to have a word that is not well-known as being a part of the Autistic spectrum to the wider community. It also does not have the same stereotypes linked to it as the term Autism does. It gives me a chance to explain my condition to others before they jump to conclusions.
I am interested to see where this argument concludes and if the word will be abandoned altogether, swapped for another or still be used as part of the every day ASD language. I am also intrigued to hear others opinions and views on all of the above. Please leave a comment below to let me know what you think or email me via the contact page if you wish for your response to be more private.
If you wish to find out more about the uncovered evidence on Hans Asperger then I would recommend The Guardian’s article: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/19/hans-asperger-aided-and-supported-nazi-programme-study-says
Please note: all opinions are my own and I do not wish to offend anybody.