Certainly, since the publication of the DSM-V, the characteristics of the Asperger’s child haven’t disappeared and the needs for social-emotional learning support still continue with these kids. Last month, I was working with a student who exhibited many of these Asperger identified traits, but exhibited anxiety because his label no longer existed. He recounted a conversation with his medical provider whereby, much like before the DSM identified Asperger’s, he had a new label. He, quite wise for his years, joked that it didn’t matter if the label changed, that he was still the same kid who still needed the same kind of supports—and as he was quick to point out, was still awesome at the same types of things.
“Even though genetic markers and increasingly precise diagnostic tools may have made Asperger’s Syndrome as a diagnosis an outdated one, the importance of understanding the strengths of those with these traits, and more broadly anyone who is neurodivergent cannot be overstated.”
We are all people first with a wonderful tapestry of variety and abilities. Building on uniqueness and strengths while supporting areas of growth in the zone of proximal development is a good model regardless of diagnostic labels.