Something that the psychologist Laurent Mottron of Hôpital Rivière-des-Prairies in Montreal said in a recent article in Science News struck me as unusual and good. Bruce Bower, author of the article noted, “Mottron regards autism as a variant of healthy brain development and prefers the term ‘autistic’ to ‘person with autism.’”
This seems a particularly useful way of approaching explorations of autism and aspergers, treating those with this unique cluster of characteristics as normal in the context of their unique organizational structures. The word “healthy” seems rarely assigned to Aspergers and autism as parents and practitioners wrestle with its confounding aspects. Not understanding their etiology at the same time that so many feel helpless to address the condition’s debilitations places people in a position of assigning Aspergers and autism a label suggesting defect.
We need more people with Aspergers and autism to write and talk about their experience providing windows into their unique world view. Humanizing the condition perhaps will strip of people’s tendencies to make it something wrong.