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Radio 4 programme this am

(11 Posts)
KeepOnKeepingOn1 Mon 03-Mar-14 10:05:14

Radio 4 this morning at 11. Why do so many women think their partners have Aspergers?

Julia2132009 Mon 03-Mar-14 10:33:22

Thank you. I'll have a listen.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 04-Mar-14 09:43:44

Did anybody listen to this - sorry on phone so can't link but the programme was Out of the Ordinary. Tony Attwood was interviewed.

Basic argument seemed to be that Aspergers pathologises normal behaviour and should never have been in the diagnostic manual and that this may account for the so-called increase ASD. Conclusion that AS is not life limiting or life long but more likely to be diagnosed as a result of greater expectations (by women) that men have better social skills and relational/empathic skills.

FrimpongDench Tue 04-Mar-14 09:52:43

I prickled a bit at the guy saying he regretted putting it into the DSM and was glad it was not in the new DSM. Except it is AFAIU, it's 'just' called HF ASD not Aspergers.

It was an odd programme - I listened twice to make sure smile. The wives did seem a little like they had high expectations - then you heard one of the husbands and it was bloody obvious grin. Also unsure about their point about it being classed as a mental illness.

FrimpongDench Tue 04-Mar-14 09:53:15

Oh, and the ass-burgers?

zzzzz Tue 04-Mar-14 09:56:52

That sound hugely unhelpful and inaccurate to the point of shock

I will listen (when ds is asleep).


FrimpongDench Tue 04-Mar-14 10:00:42

I found something in it though, one of the wives sounded just like my mother - repeated the exact same argument about her DH that I've heard so many, many times from my mother about my dad grin

Sneezecakesmum Tue 04-Mar-14 11:50:38

Have listened to the program and I do not agree with you keepon that it pathologists normal behaviour.

To me it said AS is not a mental disorder but a different path from more NT behaviour which needs to be recognised/diagnosed because of the difficulties both the AS partner and the NT partner will experience as a result of the behaviours and social difficulties.

It said that people with AS can change or adapt some of their behaviour to fit into society provided it was what they wanted. That's not to say someone should be coerced into behaving in a way they found distressing but gave them more insight into the effect their behaviour had on others

This makes sense as an understanding from partners and family of the difficulties would lead to a greater understanding and acceptance of the differences rather than anger at the apparent lack of empathy. The example of the husband buying the earrings demonstrated how this would work.

Fwiw I do not get the DSM removing AS because it is not a mental disorder, but putting it back as ASD making it a mental disorder confused

Sneezecakesmum Tue 04-Mar-14 12:51:17

Pathologises.... Auto corrected!

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 04-Mar-14 13:09:17

I think that fundamentally the argument was that there is no such thing as AS people but there are just men, or the socially inadequate or the shy, or 'selfish', that they do not have a 'condition' but are just 'themselves'. So normal behaviour (eg selfishness) is pathologised (explained by reference to an underlying medical condition).

I'm sure I have a vague memory of men talking in a sitcom (I think it was Friends) after Chandler had had a row with his Monica who had asked how she looked and Ross and Joey were explained how the 'rules' worked - never actually look, reflex answers eg 'does my bum look big in this?'/'no!'. I got the same impression with the radio programme - that it is 'normal' to have to explain social rules to friends who just don't get them.

Plus there was the guy whose psychologist mother had used him at a younger age in a teaching film she made about AS who said when he became an adult is was clear that he had been misdiagnosed and did not speak to his mother for 7 years.

What was not said was interesting. It was mentioned repeatedly that the diagnosis and notion of the brain being wired differently, was actually based upon behaviour rather than direct observation of the brain. However, the same could be said of any condition 'legitimately' listed in the manual. Even Tony Attwood didn't qualify his agreement that AS was not a mental disorder by saying that he believed that it was a neurological disorder and that AS is on the ASD spectrum.

imo it is not the case that greater understanding by others/desire to do things differently is needed but that NT methods of learning that rely on the implicit just do not work on people with ASD. It is not that learning is not possible, just that the technique has to be different in order to be effective. I got the impression that the AS were being reclassified as really NT, a bit odd but definitely not autistic, and that the 'oddness' is just more noticeable now because the roles the men play, and the requirements placed upon them, are different to and greater from that of their fathers etc. This led to women getting 'their man' diagnosed when he failed to meet their expectations.

Did we listen to the same programme? grin

Sneezecakesmum Tue 04-Mar-14 13:36:38

We did listen to the same program grin

The last bit about women's expectations of men to be more empathetic, considerate etc (instead of working and being generally taciturn) which was a possible reason more women were believing their partner had AS was countered by the argument that women's roles had also changed. We are expected to work and contribute to the family income, so both roles had changed over the past 60 years or so.

I didn't see it as a denial that AS existed but that it did exist and we should all be more accepting of people who appear to behave differently in certain circumstances.

To me it seemed to be saying the range of human behaviour is so wide and varied that this AS behaviour was on the margins of both ASD and NT.

It didn't really seem to come down on either side and say it's just normal but different, or it's a mental disorder. Seemed to wobble between AS is abnormal because these (mostly) men can't empathise and are obsessive and they are just NT but socially awkward.

Maybe one of those programmes that if come at with a preconceived notion it will confirm what you believe already.

I am also sure that with the AS population there is a wide range from almost obviously ASD to virtually indistinguishable.

I do think it needs to be identified and better understood so that society can accept and appreciate people as individuals.

Off piste! Does ABT address issues of empathy so that ASD children can 'fit in' society? Just curious. smile

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