In “Medicalizing normality” (The Best Schools, February 2, 2012) James Barham, writes about the vexed problem of “autism spectrum disorder” (Asperger’s). Serious autism is a real disorder, but readers will recall that claims for a spectrum of disorders have figured in crackpot evolution theories – never mind stuff like “Controversial study links atheism to autism.” Meanwhile, Barham notes,
… there is also danger involved in labeling essentially normal kids as sick. This point was made with moving eloquence by Benjamin Nugent, who teaches creative writing at Southern New Hampshire University, in a New York Times op-ed yesterday (Feb. 1), entitled “I Had Asperger Syndrome. Briefly.”
When he was 17 years old, in the early 1990s, Mr. Nugent’s mother, who was a psychology professor and a supposed expert on the syndrome, decided her son’s behavior qualified him for the syndrome. She and a colleague even produced an educational film on the “disease” in which her son appeared.
Clearly a nut-job, right? So, what happened?
Ah, read about that here.
Hint: He moved to the big city and discovered that, like a lot of people there, he was a … we’ll spoil no more for you!
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