Restructuring the Autism Spectrum Disorder Narrative around the Core Symptomatology of Asperger’s Syndrome and High Functioning Autism -I-


[Rev.] Romulus Campan FDScMH, LTh(Hons), CertEd, QTS,
PgCert Religion, Spirituality & Mental Health
PgCert Special Psychopedagogy,
PgCert Autism & Asperger’s

“The theoretical understanding of the world, which is the aim of philosophy, is not a matter of great practical importance to animals, or to savages, or even to most civilised men”.
Bertrand Russell

Keeping in mind my Theoretical Philosophy positional disclaimer, I have arrived at the point of my scientific inquiries, where, theories of intersecting dimensional planes aside, I must allow a superfluity eradicating convergence of objectivity in the Autism narrative, which should dethrone impostor monsters, born as painted by Goya, from the minds asleep of scientists, and subsequent masses of dilettantes.
However, in all its simplicity, the Autism narrative’s only problem, is the underlying conflict fuelled by what has become known as Learning ≠ Intellectual Disability (e.g. Dawn, Fragile X syndrome, etc.), formerly Mental Retardation. I have deliberately used the non-equal sign, as a form of silent, dignified and resigned protest, against the frustratingly careless use of Learning Disabilities (rebranded now as Learning Difficulties) which shouldn’t encompass more than reading disabilities, written language disabilities, and mathematical disabilities such as Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, also Dyspraxia which has a profound impact on perception, therefore all afore enumerated.
I do respectfully understand and acknowledge why it may be emotionally less intrusive to use Learning Disabilities instead of the Mental Retardation reminiscent Intellectual Disabilities, however, subjective rebranding in the name of political correctness does never change objective inherence. And obviously, this isn’t influenced at all by the fact that Intellectual Disabilities could co-occur with Learning Disabilities, with the former having at the core a genetic or traumatic incapacitation of the brain to process/convey information, while the later are the brain’s non-typical modalities of processing/conveying information, caused by its structural and functional differences.
The Autism narrative therefore, must once and for all, separately consider Intellectual Disabilities, regardless of common identifiables, present at the time being, in what is reluctantly acknowledged as Low Functioning Autism, or more recently, “courtesy” of DSM 5, as Severity Levels 3/2 of ASD.
Now as a tangent thought, I must mention my genuine concern that this ‘reluctance’ has morphed unfortunately in the contemporaneous trend called “Neurodiversity” which has long left its Neurodivergence gathering meaning, home for ASD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Tourette’s etc., having mutated from initially a High Functioning, Asperger’s Autism forum, into a “HF/Asperger’s Autism plus…” stage, for an alarmingly increasing number of “self-ID(Dx) autistic”, more probably narcissistic individuals, unhappy of their probable Personality Disorder traits. These share the stage with the “thinking for myself may hurt + OMG, OMG, you’re so wrong…” vigilante crowd, the “stuck in-there, too proud to admit this is wrong” rather silent minority, and the “more-or-less personal, but good business” opportunists.
Returning briefly to DSM-5, I certainly appreciate the following clarification/condition:
“E. These disturbances are not better explained by intellectual disability (intellectual developmental disorder) or global developmental delay. Intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder frequently co-occur; to make comorbid diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability, social communication should be below that expected for general developmental level” (emphasis mine). However, the statement’s last sentence, seems in my opinion to rather seriously muddle the already dark waters of practically understanding what the expected level of general development would be, in case of Intellectual Disability.
On a further thought, comparing symptoms of ID/IDD with symptoms of ASD, the similarities are beyond a reasonable horizon of reassurance that the two conditions wouldn’t be misdiagnosed for each other. Because if anyone is naïve enough to look for repetitive behaviours and/or communication deficits as some sort of failproof sign of ASD, let them be reminded that stereotyped, repetitive behaviours are also typical for passive traumatic experiences such as external stimuli deprivation, just to mention one…
Without even attempting to explain beyond theoretical philosophy the reasons for my suggestion, I propose as a valid and beneficial alternative to the present epistemo-semantic chaos, that the Autism Spectrum should selectively integrate what has been previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome and High Functioning Autism, hoping that Autism research would resume the vital dialogue of identifying specialised diagnostic patterns for the core aspects of both.
Unfortunately, otherwise, the very real and oftentimes devastating, Intellectual Disability or Intellectual-Disability-identical criteria, will continue to overshadow and therefore ignore the maybe less visible but drastically life shortening symptoms of Autism.

7 thoughts on “Restructuring the Autism Spectrum Disorder Narrative around the Core Symptomatology of Asperger’s Syndrome and High Functioning Autism -I-

  1. I love this! Things like dyslexia are very different from autism.
    Ben has a DX “severe classic autism” (and I hate the words severe or low functioning) and a one of his past doctors thought he was “mentally retarded”. Aside from the gut clenching that goes with those words, the problem is that none of the testing is accurate. If he doesn’t want to participate, he won’t. He knows more and is capable of doing more than he’s been tested at.
    The inconsistencies IMO add to his ASD dx in that it is a distinct, yet complex, individual symptomology.

    Always great food for thought! You’ve been missed!


  2. I have yet to distinguish between autistics and narcissistics even though people insist they are different, and it’s possibly because those who are identifying or being misdiagnosed as autistic are in fact narcissistic. Or, they can, in fact, be comorbid! Psychology is such a new field at this point that I’ve avoided saying that so-and-so theory or description of something like autism is true or false.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What are your thoughts on functioning labels? Is it being muddled by how intellectual disabilities could be comorbid with autism?


      1. I will shortly publish a new approach to functionality, which is important, but without the demeaning load. And yes that’s my theory, that IDs are oftentimes the prevalent condition, not being entirely convinced that some of the perceived autistic behaviours are autistic indeed, or only similar.


    2. Well that is my theory too, that many, probably more than thought “autistics” are misdiagnosed narcissists, which is one major reason why neurodiversity has become something I can’t agree with anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. “Empathic deficit is a core symptom of both disorders. In psychopathy there are signs of an emotional empathic deficit, an inability to feel along with another person (insensitivity). Research into autism spectrum disorders points to a cognitive empathic deficit, an inability to take the perspective of another person (innocence).” Taken from:

      Both are substantially different. Psychopaths and narcissistics have a personality disorder and only can feel rage or sexual desire (some experts add envy and pride), autism is neurodevelopmental and autistics can not, or are not interested in psychological manipulation. Instead, are easy target for abuse.


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