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Can you even imagine how you’d react if someone changed your name?

This could happen to over one million American adults (and even more children) with Asperger’s Syndrome.

The American Psychiatric Association is considering eliminating this diagnosis in its next revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual to be published in 2013.

A primary reason is that researchers haven’t been able to distinguish differences between individuals with high functioning autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.  So the new diagnosis will simply be Autism Spectrum Disorder and individuals might be classified as low or high functioning on this continuum.

The problem this creates for the already diagnosed population of Asperger’s Syndrome individuals is that their diagnosis has given them an identity.  They call themselves “Aspies”.  They have community support groups and many more on web communities. Books and website are designed with their name. They fear they will be lost and lumped together with many other people.  Along with their identity, they’re concerned that support, treatment, and educational accommodations might vanish with the elimination of the diagnosis.

Some organizations supporting Asperger’s Syndrome have already begun to battle this proposal with petitions. We’ll have to await the verdict in 2013.