BY JOHN COUNSEL
Asperger’s Syndrome was named after the condition articulated in 1944 by Dr Hans Asperger, an Austrian psychiatrist. The name was coined in the 1980s by Dr Lorna Wing, an English psychiatrist and prolific author who specialised in Autism. Dr Wing was also the mother of an autistic child.
Asperger’s Syndrome was first formally recognised as a neurologically divergent condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – IV (American Psychiatric Association), the handbook used in the United States and much of the world as the authoritative guide to the diagnosis of mental disorders.
It contains descriptions, symptoms, and other criteria for diagnosing mental disorders — although Asperger’s Syndrome is actually a form of neurological divergence, not a mental disorder or illness. Because the condition is a syndrome, it is often accompanied by other conditions which are neurologically divergent… or which may be mental illnesses or disorders, including personality disorders.
This can lead to the erroneous conclusion that Asperger’s Syndrome is a form of mental illness.