On Language: AANE, Asperger & Autism

The use of the word Aspergers has become more complicated recently. Aspergers is no longer an official diagnosis, and new revelations about Hans Asperger’s involvement in Nazi atrocities have come to light.

We think it’s time for us to reconsider our name, what language to use on our website, and how to refer to our community members. We’ve been having discussions around this issue with AANE’s board and staff and want to continue the conversation with you.

This is a challenging issue. Many hours spent talking with adults, parents, partners, and professionals have confirmed that there is no one word or phrase that feels right to  everyone in our community. What we do know is:

  • We want to be as inclusive as possible yet ensure that the people who might benefit from our support, services, or programs will be able to find us.
  • We don’t want to use words or phrases that are judgmental, value laden, hierarchical, or inaccurate.

Even if our terminology changes, we will continue to serve the same people and have  the same essential mission – to help individuals and families build meaningful, connected lives. Anyone who thinks they may benefit from our expertise, programs, and services will always be welcome, regardless of diagnosis.

At AANE, we want to understand what language feels right for you. Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts with us around language. There is no perfect solution to match the preferences of everyone in our diverse community. So the changes we eventually make might not be exactly what you personally would choose. But it’s important that each and every one of you knows that we value and respect your thoughts.