The Social Construction of Asperger Syndrome: The Pathologising of Difference? (google the title: full paper is available online at CiteSeerX)
HARVEY MOLLOY1 & LATIKA VASIL21The National University of Singapore, 10 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119260, and 2Nanyang Technological University, Nanyang Avenue, Singapore 639798
ABSTRACT: This article poses the question ‘Is Asperger Syndrome (AS) a disorder or a neurological difference that has been socially constructed as a disorder?’ AS is currently de. ned within the medical paradigm as a developmental disorder. Alternative conceptualizations of Asperger Syndrome have largely been absent within the academic discourse on AS. Drawing on the emerging field of disability studies we examine how the diagnostic category of AS has been socially constructed. Our contention is that Asperger Syndrome has been readily adopted as a category because of its value as a category of special education. In other words, the school is a pivotal institution in the dissemination of AS as a category. Within the framework of special needs AS is viewed as a social disability and the aim of professional interventions is to help to rehabilitate or ‘normalise’ the child. In attempting to re-frame this conceptualisation of AS, it is important to shift the emphasis from issues of diagnosis and evaluation to examining the social implications of representing children as having AS.