AANE has adopted the term Asperger profile to describe a range of neurological differences characteristic of over one percent of people in the United States and world wide. You may already be familiar with the term Asperger Syndrome, an autism spectrum diagnosis given to people with a specific constellation of challenges. We have chosen to retire the pathologizing word "syndrome," because it fails to acknowledge that:
- Many people with Asperger profiles also have striking abilities, talents, and positive traits.
- Traits are not fixed or static; with education and support, people's brains, behaviors, and skills can change over time.
- Judgments about people's abilities are subjective; what seems like a challenge in one environment may be an asset in another context.
Dr. Stephen M. Shore (a former AANE Board President) says, “When you meet one person with Asperger's — you’ve met one person with Asperger's.” Although people with Asperger profiles may share a common cluster of traits, each person is unique, and his or her life course is highly variable. Each person's traits vary in number and intensity, and their expression may vary at different developmental stages or in different environments. Like multi-colored yarns woven together into tapestries, the unlimited possibilities for trait combinations produce a wide variety of unique outcomes.
We feel that it is important to keep in mind that diagnostic designations are simplified tools used to describe differences that are complex, fluid, textured, and difficult to pin down with a single term. To explore these issues in more detail, please click on one of the topics below, or see our Glossary.
This information is also available for Spanish, Korean, and Chinese readers.
A statement on AANE's use of the term "Asperger's".