Regarding recent revelations about Hans Asperger
I find my routine and my sleep disrupted this evening because I foolishly decided to look at an article written by Kate Connolly for The Guardian. The subject of the article is Hans Asperger, the Austrian paediatrician and child psychiatrist after whom my condition is named.
It transpires that Herwig Czech, of Vienna's Medical University, has written an article for Molecular Autism which bares new evidence regarding Asperger being complicit with the Nazi regime during World War II. I confess that I haven't read the article (hyperlinked above) yet because I'm still in shock. I find this news troubling because I feel conflicted: On the one hand, if Hans Asperger hadn't written his seminal paper, Die „Autistischen Psychopathen” im Kindesalter, (Autistic Psychopathy in Children) then I wouldn't have access to the (limited) support I receive; nor would I have a renewed sense of self following my diagnosis. On the other, Czech's article highlights that Asperger wasn't the hero he was portrayed to be in Steve Silberman's Neurotribes (a must-read for everyone who's associated with autism), and I fear that those of us who identify as Aspies could be somehow tainted by association through no fault of our own.
That said, these articles allow me to debunk one of many autism myths: we do feel empathy. I don't necessarily understand what other people are thinking, especially if they don't express themselves clearly and concisely and allow me time to process what they are saying; however, when afforded these reasonable adjustments, I am able to offer honest, sometimes even insightful, comments from a different perspective which focusses on getting things done whilst acknowledging others' feelings. In this instance, my initial reaction is that I'm appalled by the actions of Asperger in his dealings with the Third Reich, and I'd like to believe that I would act differently if I was in his position. That said, I have no way of knowing for certain, which as an Aspie frustrates me to no end (hence the picture above)! Once I've calmed down enough to read Czech's article in full, then perhaps I'll be a little clearer on that.
Right, it's way past my bedtime, and I have a training session in Horsham later today, so I better get some sleep.