Re: Does Aspergers even exist?
Yes, it does. I've a 12 year old with "mild" aspergers. I put the "mild" in quotes because I've no-one to compare him against, but that was his diagnosis.
Knowing him as I do, I can assure you it most certainly exists. He does NOT use it to try to "get away with things", to draw attention to himself. He knows he has it, he knows he's "different", he hates it, but he knows he just has to get on with it.
Nor do I use it, I fought hard to ensure he goes to mainstream education and is treated like any other kid save for the presence of a teaching assistant.
He isn't on any medication, I don't want him to be on any medication, and he doesn't want to be on any medication - despite some seemingly wanting him to be.
I don't even know if he's eligible for DLA, nor do I want to because I wouldn't be taking it even if it was available.
There may be some in the medical profession who will diagnose certain things for certain reasons, and equally there may be some parents who will seek a diagnosis for some condition or other for some ulterior reasons, but in our own instance I can safely say there were no ulterior motives, and his condition most definitely exists.
My kid is who he is, I do not perceive his condition to be any form of a failure, I love him to bits and his ASD is part of what makes him who he is, and it's a very, very fundamental part at that.
Most relevant to this case, is that I know what makes my son tick. I've not yet met another person (his mother is the closest but even he acknowledges that his relationship with her isn't on the same level that he has with me) that really understands him, that can properly calm him when he's upset, that can make him feel at ease and comfortable within himself. An "expert" (and he's seen a decent few of those) simply will not be close enough to the person concerned to really understand him. To that end, I'd say the only people that really know the suicide risk of Mr McKinnon are, unfortunately, most likely his close family and very possibly only a limited number of them.
AC, not because of my son's ASD, but because I'm not part of the "me too" brigade.
Sidenote: For those having a pop at the NHS, sure it's not perfect but we sometimes don't realise what a wonderful resource we have. Have a little google to see how they generally deal with ASD in France if you really want a fright.