..But Mary-Dean Barringer, of the nonprofit learning institute All Kinds of Minds, says we put too much emphasis on the labels that others assign to our kids. "We're absolutely appalled by this diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome," says Barringer. (Asperger's is a high-functioning form of autism, marked by obsessive interests and impaired social interaction.) "These are very highly specialized minds, and to put a syndrome on it and treat it as an aberration does damage to kids and families. There are still challenges there on how to manage it, but why not call it a highly specialized mind phenomenon rather than a disorder? That label alone shapes public perception about uniqueness and quirkiness."
And I can't stop thinking about this kid and what her sensitivities portend:
.....But the disproportionate meltdowns at home or awkward public scenes that come with these kids are almost always balanced by equally extreme moments of wonder. Lily, who always wears her clothes inside out because the seams "are just too hurty," swears she can hear spiders walking on the wall two rooms away. Funny thing is, the 9-year-old is often right.