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World Book Encyclopedia Dictionary Entry on Asperger’s

April 26, 2008
I just sent the following email message to the editors of World Book.
Your dictionary definition for Asperger reads as follows:

As|per|ger or As|per|ger’s syn|drome «AS puhr guhr SIHN drohm», noun
a condition, classified as a variant of autism, that affects several aspects of human development. It is typified by obsessive behavior, areas of special cognitive ability, especially involving memory, and restricted social skills.

Use of the word “obsessive” is inaccurate in this context and, to be accurate, should be replaced with the word “ritualized.” Obsessiveness (related to OCD) refers to egodystonic (self-alienating) behavior. However, Asperger’s rituals are not obsessive. They are highly enjoyable. Although some persons with Asperger’s syndrome may, in addition, have OCD, not all do.

Mark A. Foster, Ph.D.

Here was the reply:

Hi Mark,

Thank you for your input. I’ve forwarded your email to our editorial department and they will be changing the entry.

Larissa Kozij
Associate Manager, Digital Products
World Book, Inc.
233 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 2000
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 819 6570

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