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Why Asperger Syndrome is a Legal Disability

Posted Jul 23 2009 12:00am

Disability By Jake Crosby

A comment under my previous article on Asperger Syndrome being a disability inspired me to write yet another article on the topic. The commenter, who was completely opposed to Neurodiversity (ND), said Asperger Syndrome is not a disability because it is not legally defined as such.

I am surprised that there is such a view out there in the autism community outside the ND movement that does not think Asperger Syndrome is a disability. Those who hold this view will claim that disability is a legal term. They will say that Asperger Syndrome is therefore not a disability because it is not covered by disability law. This view is incorrect. People with Asperger Syndrome are covered by the Individuals with Disabilities Act to receive accommodations in both work and in school. In contrast to some untruths I’ve heard, we also get insurance coverage; last summer I underwent speech therapy with another person with Aspergers to improve pragmatic language skills, covered by insurance. Some of us are also eligible for Social Security benefits for our disability, including Anne Dachel’s son:

"In fact, I learned that now there was a whole spectrum of autistic disorders and John's was called Asperger's Syndrome...Once he finished school, John became eligible for Social Security disability payments."

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