Asperger's Syndrome: High-Functioning Autism to Lose Its Name

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'Asperger's' Label Essential to Services

For Phyllis Anderson, the term "Asperger's" is a ticket to obtaining essential services for her 15-year-old son, Garrett.

"I need the label to get some sort of response from the administrators," said Anderson, who lives in Dallas. "If I can tell them my son has this label, they're a lot quicker to cover their backs and provide for my son. So that label does carry weight in the school system."

For Garrett, who was diagnosed in second grade, the Asperger's label is bittersweet. While helping him to understand why he's different, it makes it harder for him to fit in.

"I know my son has struggled because he just wants to be normal," Anderson said. "But I think it's good to know and understand how you're wired."

For Parker, whose diagnosis came much later in life, the label had a "profound effect." It helped her find life-changing therapies, a new community of people with similar experiences, and even a new calling. She now runs a company that makes weighted blankets, which help people with sensory processing disorders, a symptom of Asperger's, stay calm and sleep better.

"I always knew I was different but didn't know why," Parker said. "I think I started to accept myself more."

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