Friday, April 6, 2018

The Nazi History of Dr. Asperger

From The New York Times:
The official diagnosis of Asperger disorder has recently been dropped from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders because clinicians largely agreed it wasn’t a separate condition from autism. But Asperger syndrome is still included in the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases, which is used around the globe. Moreover, the name remains in common usage. It is an archetype in popular culture, a term we apply to loved ones and an identity many people with autism adopt for themselves. Most of us never think about the man behind the name. But we should.

Asperger was long seen as a resister of the Third Reich, yet his work was, in fact, inextricably linked with the rise of Nazism and its deadly programs. He first encountered Nazi child psychiatry when he traveled from Vienna to Germany in 1934, at age 28. His senior colleagues there were developing diagnoses of social shortcomings for children who they said lacked connection to the community, uneager to join in collective Reich activities such as the Hitler Youth. Asperger at first warned against classifying children, writing in 1937 that “it is impossible to establish a rigid set of criteria for a diagnosis.” But right after the Nazi annexation of Austria in 1938 — and the purge of his Jewish and liberal associates from the University of Vienna — Asperger introduced his own diagnosis of social detachment: “autistic psychopathy.” (Read more.)
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1 comment:

Helen Davis said...

Makes,me,suspicious of the diagnosis as a whole.