I was interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live today on Internet trolling. In it I mentioned Asperger syndrome and mental health conditions in the same breadth. I thought I might clarify my comments.
I generally see myself as “autistic”. However, “Asperger syndrome” is a medical label – in version 4 of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders – for what should simply be considered an alternative personality type.
An autistic person therefore only has Aspergers when around people who lack understanding or tolerance of being autistic. Otherwise being autistic is normal and thus not a disability. I never have any problems communicating with people who are autistic – if others who can’t communicate with autistic people were as clever as they make out, they would not have issue with autistic people either.
It is my view that most mental health conditions can be put down to the effects of post-traumatic stress. In my view the same traumas that can cause anti-social personality disorder can cause one to be autistic. But autistic traits can be caused by other factors also – such as foetal alcohol/testosterone and thicker cells in the prefrontal cortex from genetic mutations.
I was joking with someone the other day that on mathematics or physics degrees, where participants are likely to be more autistic, maybe it should be the non-autistics (e.g. empathics, demotics) who get the disability support!