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Jo Case: Asperger’s Syndrome: Identity or Illness?


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Articles and commentaries on Asperger’s Syndrome are rife with references to the ‘condition’, ‘sufferers’ and ‘disability’. But many people who live with an Asperger’s diagnosis – for themselves or their families – experience it as a difference, not a disability.

Asperger’s people are often badly organised in their everyday lives, but terrifically focused in their areas of interest – which often turn into careers. Einstein, Bill Gates and Woody Allen are just a few success stories speculated to be on the autistic spectrum. Then again, if something’s not a disability, why should it attract funding and special compensation? And what about all those people who identify as Asperger’s because they want to be special? Is that a real thing?

Jo Case, author of Boomer and Me: A Memoir of Motherhood, and Asperger’s will tackle some myths head-on, and try to untangle these knotty issues, drawing on personal experience.


Sometimes there’s nothing better than a good rant. Every Thursday, the Wheeler Centre hosts an old-fashioned Speakers’ Corner in the middle of the city, where writers and thinkers can have their say on the topics that won’t let them sleep at night.

Featuring some of our most compelling voices across just about every sector of human endeavour you can imagine, the themes dominating Lunchbox/Soapbox are proudly idiosyncratic. BYO lunch. Ideas provided.



Jo Case

Jo Case is the Program Manager at Melbourne Writers Festival. Before this, she was the Wheeler Centre’s senior writer/editor. Her first book, Boomer and Me: A memoir of motherhood, and Asperger’s is published by Hardie Grant in Australia and the UK. She has been books editor of The Big Issue, as... Read more


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