Polly's pages (aka 'Donna Williams')

Ever the arty Autie

Is Asperger’s real? The case for subclinical Aspergers.


Cozy by Donna Williams

Cozy by Donna Williams

OK, so whilst there’s a war about who is autistic, who has Aspergers, whether someone with AS can once have been more autistic, whether someone autism can become someone with Aspergers or outgrow degrees of their autism, the group people most don’t ‘get’ are those slightly outside of the bell curve who nevertheless have the type of personality traits that mean they experience their oddity profoundly or move in circles which are so normality monging that they can smell a weirdo at 500 paces. Who are these people who feel they have no disability but identify as having AS, even identify as ‘Autistics’? Often they are people with subclinical Aspergers Syndrome.
What’s sub-clinical? It means non-medical, or underneath the medical radar, not medical enough to justify a medical diagnosis. But their distress, alienation, their desire to understand themselves and their place in the human race may be very real indeed. They may have more need for validation of their identification than for services but where are the services for validating identity, or for helping people explore it, sift through it and healthily come out intact out the other side?

In an online world, diagnostic labels have become cultural currency. Where once you might identify with your homies by wearing Adidas or Nike, now you can say whether you are exploring, self diagnosed, peer diagnosed, formally diagnosed and with which labels. If you don’t like the labels you had or feel they did you harm or were the wrong ones you can shop for those you identify more with and if you don’t get the label you want you can keep seeing therapists until you find one who agrees with your own self assessment. In the meantime people can be on waiting lists for those therapists, therapists who hand out labels for things like access to services. So what type of therapists might help validate those in need of identity validation? A life coach helps people explore identity. A mental health social worker helps people with identity related dilemmas, the confusion, anxiety, alienation these cause them and helps people adjust their lives to better fit with how they see themselves. A psychologist may help explore identity but generally focuses on pathology and how to solve it so if you’re really wanting to explore identity and celebrate it not treat anything, a psychologist is probably not your person. A psychiatrist can give you a label for an illness according to a DSM and offer to medicate it. So not sure that’s going to help those suffering from an identity they feel doesn’t fit or a new one they want validation for.

Is the world unfair, unequal, has no place for oddities? Guess what… life’s tough, people won’t understand you… nobody will care about your ‘shit’… and that’s a symptom of a serious social disability called OVER POPULATION… it can be cured by condoms… if we cure it enough we’ll all stop taking each other for granted – guaranteed. Fact is Dr Phil and Oprah have lied… the world was never meant to be kind and equal to all… its overpopulated, has bred greed and competition and heirachy and hypocrisy.. its time we faced up to the fact we are too selfish to care about the planet and too selfish to care about any children but our own ones, and too selfish to care about any groups but our own homies and essentially if we had to walk 5 miles to the next human we’d really appreciate them whoever they were

A diagnosis of subclinical AS may help those who are looking for identity validation but don’t see themselves as having any significant level of disability. And disability is also relative. Any human being with a strength will have a related weakness. It’s how we all work, all we human beings, no exceptions.

Donna Williams, BA Hons, Dip Ed.
Author, artist, singer-songwriter, screenwriter.
Autism consultant and public speaker.