I sometimes wonder if I'm the only person in the world who actually has Asperger Syndrome (AS). You see I went to a psychologist and underwent testing to obtain a diagnosis. The only other places you get to "meet" people with AS are on the internet...but they're all "self diagnosed". How can you self diagnose such a thing? If your car engine won't start do you "self-diagnose" what the issue is? Then go around telling everyone that your widget has broken? If the central heating stops working in your house do you "self-diagnose" the issue and go around telling everyone your gromit has split? Of course not...cos if you're not a professional in the field then your diagnosis is worthless.
Yet there is a massive movement of people out there who claim to have AS because they did some pop test on the internet. These tests just ask basic questions and assume that AS is black and white and if you're fascinated with dates you have AS, and if you're not you don't. What rubbish. And how can an on-line test assess the impact your symptoms have on your life? None of these tests ask your background or attempt to eliminate other possible diagnosis. Basically…they're rubbish.
However people post their results on forums with pride, as if being AS is a sport and he who is "most" AS is the winner. Who is to say they didn't take the test a few times until they got the result they wanted? And they don't just stop there. Again I am seemingly the only person in the world who has not only diagnosed myself, but everyone in my life with AS. "My brother, who I'm sure has AS" "This guy in my class, who I'm sure has AS" "My mother, who I'm sure has AS". These are things you'll see plastered all over the internet. If diagnosis of such a complex thing is so simple then maybe I'm in the wrong job? Maybe I should take up psychology instead, and walk around dousing all and sundry with my armchair diagnosis.
As well as the self-diagnosers the other most common posting on internet forums is people asking complete stranger laymen to diagnose them based on a few traits they think proves they have AS.
Why are people seemingly so keen to wear this label? Is it an emo thing? Are people looking to justify their perceived failings in personality? Do they think that if they have AS they can stop blaming themselves and maybe even gain sympathy?
Another extension of this issue is the number of women who "have" AS (I put that in quotes as again they are always self-diagnosed). Official statistics tell us that it is rare for a women to have AS, but a quick search on the internet paints quite a different picture. There are almost as many women who claim to have AS as there are men. Either the professionals have got something terribly wrong, or these "self-diagnosed" women do not have AS at all. Maybe it is self-diagnosis that is wrong?