I would appreciate a diagnosis or classification of autism that isn't described as a disorder

Using a social perspective to autism, I would appreciate if there were a way to classify someone as autistic without calling it a disorder. Yes, we have difficulties, but from a social perspective, a lot of them come from society being structured to meet the needs of allistics. They get guidance, acceptance, and ultimately privilege of a world that is designed for them, while we have to try to meet their expectations. From this perspective, we’re not disordered, but oppressed/marginalized. How does that make us disordered?

I agree that there are different levels of functioning, and that some individuals might meet criteria for a disorder due to autism spectrum characteristics, so that would be valid. However, many individuals would function quite well in a setting that was designed to raise, educate, and accommodate autistic brains.

Anyone have any insight or ideas on this?

Alexmitter avatar

Its a disorder, not calling it one is not making it any less of a disorder.

@BackOnMyBS@lemmy.world avatar

Asperger’s was a syndrome, and they stopped calling it that, so it’s no longer a syndrome. The DSM is highly culturally-based.


The official term in the UK is Asperger’s disorder, although I’ve never heard it actually called that.

Penguinblue, (edited )

No it's not. From the National Autistic Society:
"Asperger's syndrome’ (often shortened to Asperger’s) is no longer used as a diagnostic term for autism and is considered controversial due to the history of Hans Asperger, which is summarised below.

Historically, Asperger syndrome was used as a diagnostic term for some autistic people who did not also have a diagnosis of a learning disability. Broadly, it is now agreed that what was referred to as Asperger syndrome is part of the autism spectrum and there is no need for a separate term.

Some people who received a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome continue to use this terminology to refer to themselves. Others do not, usually for two reasons: because the term is no longer used officially; and because of revelations about the Austrian psychiatrist Hans Asperger, who Asperger syndrome was named after and who was complicit with the Nazis."




This is the NHS term database.

edit: lemmy is breaking the link for some reason, lets try this

Alexmitter avatar

Asperger’s was a syndrome, and they stopped calling it that, so it’s no longer a syndrome.

Those words only have meaning to a US American. I am a Asperger. My diagnosis is Asperger and I do not want to be called ASD Level something.


But isn't this the entire point? You like to call yourself that, and that is perfectly fine, but ultimately all of these words come from psychiatric diagnosis, from the DSM. That is where the labels were defined, that is where our cultural understanding of the neurotype comes from.

Our culture has defined that you are disordered because of your way of being, you've been diagnosed as such. Another culture, a former culture will not have defined it that way. So you calling it a disorder is not based on anything absolute, it is based in a cultural understanding.

I was diagnosed with autism level 1, not aspergers, because: 1 - We now understand that describing people based on 'functioning' is extremely damaging to the individual; and 2 - Asperger tested on children for the Nazis, and I think we can all agree that's not cool.

All of this is cultural, we didn't know about the damage of functioning labeling at the time that diagnosis was accepted (or the whole Nazi thing), and so our cultural understanding of the condition has changed.

Understandings of disorder are cultural, not absolute.

Alexmitter avatar

I think you turn feelings over facts.

mikeboltonshair, (edited )

You do realize the word has a meaning?

“an illness or condition that disrupts normal physical or mental functions”

Generally people are born with 4 limbs because that is the normal, if you are born without them it’s abnormal you need to use words to classify things, the world operates on the norm… it wouldn’t make sense to make all cars be only able to operate for people who were born without limbs

Saying that, just because you have a disorder doesn’t make you any less of a person, anyone that thinks that is a moron… basically don’t get hung up on a word, you had no choice in your biology/birth you just got what you got

They way you describe it as being oppressed or marginalized you are gonna be well on your way to always being a victim if you want to frame your worldview that way


Then homosexuality is also is a disorder? What?

@BackOnMyBS@lemmy.world avatar

I could see this argument though. If society takes on the value that the main purpose of every single living organism is to reproduce, then homosexuality could be considered a disorder since “homosexuals” would have difficulties fulfilling life’s mandate (per society). I don’t agree with that, but I can see the argument.


Well I also don’ agree with that, but if we wouldn’t reproduce, we would go extinct.

@BackOnMyBS@lemmy.world avatar

That’s why we have to look at the bigger picture instead of focusing solely on matters of individuals. How do LGBTQ+ individuals contribute to the progress of their group with similar DNA?


There’s a theory that suggests that having homosexuality is socially beneficial, because it means you have some non-rearing adults helping care for the children, similar to why humans live so far past the ages where they would normally be able to bear children, since they can still help socially raise the kids. It’s been observed in birds, but there is a bit of disagreement over whether that’s the case there, or whether there’s some additional species-related complications at play.


It’s funny how you immediately brought that up when it has nothing to do with it and as Johnny said it doesn’t disrupt anything mentally or physically so no, but nice try to make it an issue that wasn’t even talked about


I wasn’t bringing up an issue. I was just asking a question.


Does homosexuality disrupt normal physical or mental functions? No.

Does ADHD, Bipolar, Autism, Depression, and others disrupt normal physical or mental functions? Yes.


Couldn't it be argued that homosexuality disrupted normal function in society due to societal expectations, which is also the primary way that ADHD produces functional disability? If society has different requirements would ADHD still be a disorder?

Just playing devil's advocate.

@Falmarri@lemmy.world avatar

Productivity and focus are not “societal expectations”. Sure if society was based around getting things half finished, then maybe. But we can make up all kinds of things to try to justify


Some people (read those who take “go forth and multiply” literally and as an imperative) absolutely could. However, there is a basis in multiple older cultures in which gay/childless people helped support the society by taking care of the other members’ children and the elderly. Not everything was focused on the individual need to have more kids, but to help those who others had. It is more of a group idea. There’s more than enough children to sustain/grow the population, so it’s more important to have extra hands to care for those who are here.


No, since your own personal ability to function isn’t affected in homosexuality. Whereas with ADHD, you could have social support and still run into problems caused by ADHD. Similarly with ASD. That’s not really the case for homosexuality.

Persen, (edited )

Well I didn’t mean to be aggresive. I was just bringing up a question. Maybe it was worded too agressively.


Used to be classed as one. As did being left handed.


As someone who is left handed and grew up being forced to adapt to a right handed world I can understand how it could be considered a disorder! So many things were just that little bit harder


Thank you for bringing some levity to this convo.


No problem :) thanks for being nice

Have a good day


I mostly agree, except for the last part about marginalization. The idea you can always overcome whatever disability/disorder/whatever with hard work and the right mindset is not accurate at all. And that's not you wanting to be a victim, it's you advocating for what you need. Accommodations exist for everyone, they just cater to abled/neurotypical people instead. Once I finally admitted to myself I was disabled and stopped trying to live my life like I am 100% able bodied improved my life A LOT.

And disabled/chronically ill/neurodivergent people DO face a lot of discrimination regardless of if you want to admit it or not. We should be fighting for improvement in treatment, acknowledging people treat you like less of a person doesn't mean you actually are less of a person. ESPECIALLY in the current political climate... once LGBT+ people are dehumanized sufficiently disabled people are going to be next.


I can see how you interpreted that last part that way I didn’t mean it like that, what I was trying to say is I’m arguing that the word disorder is strictly that it’s a genetic disorder and having it doesn’t make you any less of a person it’s a biological issue

I’m not advocating a positive mindset cures all (otherwise depression and anxiety wouldn’t exist) and people with disabilities don’t experience hardships, of course they do but at the same time you are a person that can try to not allow others to dictate your feelings, life is hard enough as it is don’t let someone who looks down upon you determine your worth as their opinion is just that… an opinion



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  • BackOnMyBS,
    @BackOnMyBS@lemmy.world avatar

    I think you make some valid points, but I think that society shouldn’t depend on the term “disorder” to provide accommodations. If I have a friend that says he doesn’t like dogs, I don’t require that he have a dog phobia diagnosis to put my dog in another room when he comes over. Similarly, if someone were to be classified as Autistic Neurotype, that could be sufficient enough to provide accommodations to meet their needs. I’m also not advocating against the use of the term disorder. I think that should be a personal option that someone could choose.

    Additionally, while some may consider me a leader, my approach is to solely moderate this community by applying the rules and help foster engagement, discussions on difficult topics, and growth while maintaining the respectful culture we’ve developed. If we start limiting topics or judging users for their innocent messages, then we discourage sincerity and engagement. Some topics are going to be controversial, and this is a place for those discussions. Otherwise, users might go to less healthy settings to address them or not address them at all.

    I’m autistic just like everyone else, and will make my social mistakes. It’s happened before, and it’s going to happen again. I would appreciate some compassion and leniency with my engagement in the community if I make any mistakes or offensive remarks. I’m trying my best and only want good things for us.


    A disorder is something that makes it hard do function in current society. There are some autistics who would have difficulties in nearly any society but one could argue that it’s mostly due to comorbidities. Now the key to not being disordered for the rest of us is changing society so that we can live without being disabled by our environment. That change won’t happen without massive organized protest and it won’t be easy.

    @BackOnMyBS@lemmy.world avatar

    There are some autistics who would have difficulties in nearly any society but one could argue that it’s mostly due to comorbidities.

    That’s such a good point! One could argue that an autistic person has trouble socializing not directly because of their autistic traits, but because allistic society has bullied them enough to develop social anxiety. In this case, the actual “disorder” that is preventing socialization is social anxiety, but the root cause was allistic bullying. Should allistic culture change to accept and embrace autistic traits, then there would be no problem, and the autistic person wouldn’t be considered disordered. Is that in line with your argument?


    Those are not the only problems caused mainly by an overly allistic culture but, yes that’s the direction I was going with my argument.

    @BeautifulMind@lemmy.world avatar

    I think it’s probably helpful to put words like ‘normal’ into their proper context- it’s a statistics term, not a baseline from whence deviation is morally fraught or anything.

    We’re different, not worse.

    Consider, if you will, the hypothetical in which you, a normal healthy human, visit Krypton and discover that the doors to their buildings are all high up, no need for stairs because *normal *people there can fly. In this sense, you are not accommodated in exactly the same way that a wheelchair-bound person is not accommodated when the stairs into our buildings aren’t accompanied by a ramp.

    On Krypton, you are handicapped not because of how you are, but because they don’t accommodate that. On Earth, the wheelchair-bound person is handicapped because we don’t always accommodate their needs. In neurotypical culture, being different only becomes a handicap when the people around you are unable or unwilling to accommodate you being you.

    We didn’t get the same degree of neural pruning when it was time for neurotypicals to get that, and it means we tend to process substantially more information- and the things our brain picks out as interesting aren’t always the normal, expected ones.

    The ‘disorder’ arises only when other people can’t meet you halfway, it’s not you.

    @BackOnMyBS@lemmy.world avatar

    I love your example and they way you conceptualized it. Keep fighting the good fight. Thank you very much!


    I would appreciate classification and diagnosis of more neurotypical quirks as disorders.

    A flip in mentality, where common behaviors that are more or less detrimental are actually seen as disorders and not just the common baseline that you can either be worse than or better than.

    Like you struggle to properly understand technical/nerdy things? That’s a disorder. Oh, you’re superstitious? That’s a disorder. Of course, we’d need to also frame the entire thing around a different word than disorder, as it just means different from normal and despite the actual colloquial understanding it’s technically not supposed to make a value judgement.

    I’d be very interested to hear your suggestions on what could be seen as a neurotypical disorder/flaw.

    @BackOnMyBS@lemmy.world avatar

    That’s an interesting idea! Perhaps, the term would be “atypical” or something like that? Also, what do you think this approach would achieve? Perhaps more accommodations, understanding, or compassion for quirks?

    My first reaction to the idea is that it would result in a lot of people getting diagnoses and may dilute the value/strength that the diagnosis carries, so maybe people would take it less seriously. But, if implemented in an effective manner, it may turn out to increase awareness and compassion. However, I’m interested in your thoughts to develop a more concrete personal stance on it.


    I am actually thinking in the opposite direction, of choosing a word that makes a value judgment, and applying that to negative neurotypical traits.


    Generally speaking, the DSM classifies things as “Disorders” if they affect your ability to function day to day. It’s language that helps justify accomodations to employers and to otherwise justify that help is needed.


    Firstly we need to accept ourselves and be at peace with how we are, instead of trying and often failing to meet unreasonable expectations. We should be intolerant of abuse but tolerant of ignorance. We should play to our strengths and remind people of our important contributions to society. We aren’t very homogeneous and socially connected by nature but any effort to organise as a group will help. We should talk about the things that help us and promote them. A basic education in psychology is important. Meditation and access to psychiatric services is essential.



    UK health service has shifted to ASC over ASD. It is now classified as a Condition.

    Personally, I don’t care. But that’s the Aspie in me. You might, so do what makes you comfortable.

    @BackOnMyBS@lemmy.world avatar

    That sounds like a nicer way of putting it. Thanks for letting me know!


    I feel like this is just a step toward throwing out the classification and description of individuals in terms of social norms and averages. Like, however it came to be (and I’m skeptical of your assertion that society has somehow been fashioned - presumably on purpose? - “to meet the needs of [so-called] allistics”), the society in which we live has bell curve distributions of many personality traits and capabilities and interests and on and on.

    There is such a thing as the middle of the bell curve, the 1 standard deviation from the mean, etc. It’s useful to call that something. We’ve called it “normal” or “typical” or whatever. And so people in the 2 std dev and higher bands are increasing magnitudes of “abnormal” or “atypical.” So what?

    Well, since time immemorial, being different could be dangerous to the survival of the group. So being different became pejorative. Only in the past couple hundred years have we began to appreciate that creative genius is almost always associated with “atypical” people. (Destructive genius, too.)

    I think we’re going through a time now where we’re acknowledging that maybe more people have always been “atypical” but they concealed it for various reasons. I see my kids’ generation as being particularly open to the variation that’s apparently pretty natural in our species (or driven by microplastics and forever chemicals).

    I don’t think doing away with statistical analysis of populations is the way to go, though. A better approach, to my mind, is to do away with the negative connotation that still accompanies the diagnosis of being 2 or more standard deviations away from the mean. Certainly it’s not coming up with a slew of new terms to replace “normal” or “typical.”


    I don't disagree that neurodivergent people would have a way better time if people/society took them into consideration more. But I am low support needs and still consider it a disorder. My boyfriend has ADHD and agrees. While there are a lot of things that would be fixed by having sensory friendly environments for example, there are still a lot of things about being autistic that hinder me that I wish would go away regardless of what accommodations exist.



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  • pizza-bagel,

    I would highly recommend you stop speaking for other autistic and ADHD people. If you think accommodations can help you with everything, that's great. I'm not doubting that. But it's ignorant as fuck to assume that your experience is the one true experience and you already know my entire life experience and autistic traits to be able to correct me like that.

    Let other autistic and ADHD people speak for themselves. We are more than capable.


    As a person with ADHD, I totally hear you.

    You’re right that in a different world, built for any particular neurodivergence, the balance of challenges would be different.

    For me though, I’ve learned to acknowledge that no fictional world-building could make me better at remembering names, faces, birthdays, the stories I’ve already told someone, or keep me from burning out my interest in new passions.

    At the end of the day, despite people thinking I’m “smart” and getting along well with others, I’m constantly exhausted by the additional effort it takes and nobody sees the excessive downtime it takes for me to recharge.

    I always think of GATTACA and how in a world of genetically modified rich people, a man has to hustle hard to blend in. It’s a constant effort 24/7 just to create the illusion that I’m operating the same as everyone else.

    The other thing is that most of the socioeconomic changes that would benefit me, would also benefit everyone else. Which is good, but means the balance would not be dramatically changed.

    I’ve realized my internal discomfort with acknowledging my condition as a disability, stems from believing a disability makes me lesser. What has alleviated that discomfort is realizing that’s not how people see each other in real life (in general).

    My sense of being lesser, of unfair struggle, comes from capitalism exclusively valuing persons/things that best grow the wealth if those with capital.

    I’m not lesser because I’m a bad person, or a stupid person. I FEEL lesser because the world I live in let’s people die when they can’t afford a hospital visit, and only values human life to the extent that it makes rich people richer.

    It doesn’t even matter if you bring greater value to the world with your art, if capitalists can’t monetize it for themselves.

    As capitalism’s stranglehold tightens on everybody exponentially, the rest of the world is starting to get a taste if disenfranchisement for themselves. As more people recognize the root of so many problems, people will continue pushing for more radical change.

    We might not live to see the best outcome of this fight, but know that you aren’t fighting you struggles alone and your obstacles aren’t your fault.

    @Lazylazycat@lemmy.world avatar

    This was a really interesting read, thanks for your perspective.

    @BackOnMyBS@lemmy.world avatar

    I agree that capitalism makes us value each other based on the amount of wealth we can accumulate. It’s sad to see people defined by how they are able to enrich themselves rather than by who they are as a whole. Now, if we someone with a neurodivergence and they don’t help accumulate wealth as much, they are lower in the hierarchy, even if people decline to accept it. Sadly, I’ve seen videos that argue that autistic people are being sought out by some companies for their ability to focus and desire for order. The videos were arguing that autistic people have their strengths too. While I get the point, it’s still reducing a human to their contribution to capital.

    know that you aren’t fighting you struggles alone and your obstacles aren’t your fault.

    Thank you very much! That made me tear up. I love this community. ❤️



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  • Falmarri,
    @Falmarri@lemmy.world avatar

    If Western society wasn’t structured in the way it is

    And if humans never evolved to talk, or weren’t social animals… Those hypotheticals are totally useless and doesn’t change the fact that issues making it harder for affected people to interact with the fast majority of people are in fact disorders


    I prefer the term neurotype over disorder. It should be seen as a neurological difference not a medical condition.



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  • BackOnMyBS,
    @BackOnMyBS@lemmy.world avatar

    Yes! Thank you! That’s the term I was looking for.



    If Western society wasn’t structured in the way it is, those who struggle so much would not

    Thank you! I have been saying this for a long time.

    @BackOnMyBS@lemmy.world avatar

    Yes!! Thank you! If everyone were autistic, then our society would be structured around it. People would understand sensory overload, direct communication, dislike of hierarchies, lack of conformity, disappearing for days/weeks/months, need for order, etc. Society would be built considering all that into it, so it would just not even really be a thing.

    Kind of like there could be an alien species that looks exactly like us and enjoys stimulation while sleeping, so they think that humans are disordered because we have difficulty sleeping on beds that shake like an earthquake all night. “Op, yep. Those humans and their sensory sensitivity while sleeping. They’re disordered and need accommodations.”

    Since the majority of society doesn’t have autistic nervous systems, the assumption is that deviations are disordered and allistics are not. That’s what I’m getting at. Surely, there would be individuals that need more support than others, but support would probably be woven into the fabric of society, just like there are some individuals that suck at defending themselves from violence, so society created systems to protect those more vulnerable.

    mikeboltonshair, (edited )

    Once again back to words… moron is a word, I know some people can’t handle certain words but that doesn’t make them not real and I have no problems calling someone that in the context I used, if someone judged you for being autistic then yes I believe them to be a moron as it is a stupid position to take

    Yes certain neurotypes aren’t normal and let me make this clear that doesn’t reflect on the person as it has absolutely nothing to do with you it’s not a choice if you have 100 people and they are born without genetic abnormalities and you have 1 person who is born with an abnormality then yes they aren’t part of the norm that’s just how biology works the human race wouldn’t exist otherwise. I’m sorry if you don’t think that’s fair or like it, science doesn’t care about that, you think that including the difficulties is part of the disorder it’s not, that’s just you projecting that, the disorder is the genetic abnormality not the life you lead being autistic and having to deal with a normal world

    @BackOnMyBS@lemmy.world avatar

    A genetic abnormality doesn’t have to be a disorder. Someone could have a genetic abnormality that protects them from the bubonic plague and not be considered “disordered”.

    Also, calling someone a moron for judging an autistic person is an oversimplification and generalization. That person could be quite intelligent, but not have the culture, compassion, or education to not judge others.

    Science doesn’t care about anything. Science is a system we’ve created to help progress our awareness of the universe. However, all scientific theories are based off of assumptions, those assumptions come from society’s values, and those values come from the people with power. The point is that science still has aspects that are socially constructed, which means that it’s not entirely definite. A measurement can be definite. What that measurement means is subjective.


    Words matter, otherwise verbal assault wouldn't constitute a hate crime (at least in the UK). You used an ableist word and that matters. The word has an interesting history, in case anyone is interested (see below) and using it is ableist given it used to be a psychiatric classification. I am assuming you wouldn't use the 'F' word to describe gay people or the 'N' word to describe black people. Those are just words, too, what makes them different?


    Also, taking the "science doesn't care about your feelings" line of thinking is really lazy. We don't have to keep the status quo. In fact, it's generally good if we don't. I can see from your responses that you aren't interested in discussion, so I'm leaving it here. It's OK to be wrong about things sometimes. Maybe you are wrong about this. Maybe not, but maybe you are.


    I do agree with you words do matter that was my entire point, a disorder is not a bad word it’s a technical term, do we need to make up a new word because it has a stigma attached to it for some people? As far as moron goes what words that you don’t like are next is idiot gonna be on the chopping block? Dim witted? Should I spell it like this? m*ron does that make it so it’s not the same word and doesn’t hurt people? Sometimes policing what other people say can go too far you saying ableist could be bothersome to me but I’m not gonna tell you that you can’t say that

    Comparing moron and the N word is a stretch but hey words are hurtful to you personally I can’t change that, good luck navigating life if that is going to set you off, not everyone is gonna be nice or agree with you that’s life though

    Pretty sure scientifically proven facts are truths, unless they are disproven or the methodology is flawed if that’s lazy then I don’t know what to say lol

    I do agree with you on my possibly being wrong, I don’t have a problem admitting when I’m wrong, on the flip side maybe, just maybe you too are wrong


    One of the most important aspects of diagnosing any disorder today is whether it causes psychological stress.
    This takes your social surroundings and society into account.
    In a perfect world that accommodates autistic people, their condition wouldn’t cause them any psychological strain so they wouldn’t be diagnosed (because there is no need for a treatment).

    Sadly in the world we live in, being autistic does make life more difficult and stressful, therefore a diagnosis is needed to give the affected the help they need to cope with their issues in society.

    Generally, the thought experiment “if society was different…” is rarely helpful in my opinion. People have to deal with their life within the society we have, it’s not going to change overnight.

    @Kolanaki@yiffit.net avatar

    Isn’t Asperger’s a syndrome? 🤔

    @BackOnMyBS@lemmy.world avatar

    It was in the DSM4, but they got rid of it for the DSM5 and those that would have met criteria now fall under ASD.

    @Kolanaki@yiffit.net avatar


    Clearly I was I unaware of this, and now I can’t help but assume that ASD stands for Asperger’s Syndrome Disorder.


    We realised that labeling people based on their level of functioning was extremely unhelpful and debilitating so they changed it to level of need. Also Asperger worked with the Nazis and may have been one.

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