Do we diagnose or identify?

A new friend - a man in his 80s who was recently told he has Aspergers - asked me why I use the word 'diagnose' when talking about Aspergers.

Given I'd just finished a speech about 'The Hidden Diffability: Discovering Aspergers' in which I spoke about Aspergers being a difference not a defect, he suggested that a better term would be to 'identify' a person with Aspergers, rather than 'diagnose' with it's ill-health connotations.

Here's a small section of my talk:

Aspergers as a different way of thinking, seeing and feeling. It’s a difference in abilities, not defective, not diseased, and definitely not inferior.  It’s just different.

Everyone here tonight has some connection to autism, so you know how different and unique each person is. What works for one, won’t work for all. There is no universal ‘they’. My goal with The Hidden Diffability series is to give you insight into how diverse Australian families, including my own, have managed to combine the therapies and recommendations into a rewarding reality.


I'd be really interested to know your thoughts on this idea, so please leave a comment below.

Happy New Year!