While the legal notices exchanged between Kangana Ranaut and Hrithik Roshan have contained their fair share of headline-grabbing allegations, one Mumbai-based mother is far more concerned about one specific detail of Hrithik’s notice — that Kangana suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome.
In an open letter, Kavita Savio Lobo — who described herself as “the proud mother of a nine-year-old with Asperger’s” — said right at the outset that she was not commenting on the issue because she was interested in what the celebrities got up to. Rather, she wrote, she was concerned that there should be no misperceptions about what the Syndrome actually entails.
The Autism Society states that Asperger’s Syndrome was “first described in the 1940s by Viennese pediatrician Hans Asperger, who observed autism-like behaviors and difficulties with social and communication skills in boys who had normal intelligence and language development.”
The Society adds that “Asperger’s Disorder was added to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) in 1994 as a separate disorder from autism. However, there are still many professionals who consider Asperger’s Disorder a less severe form of autism. In 2013, the DSM-5 replaced Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder and other pervasive developmental disorders with the umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.”
Lobo was specifically pained by the statement in Hrithik’s legal notice that claimed Kangana’s Asperger’s condition led her to “imagine things”. Lobo wrote: “Kindly note, individuals with Asperger's Syndrome DO NOT imagine things. It is best to orient oneself by simply reading thoroughly through the DSM IV guidelines before making any judgmental statements.”
She went on to describe the traits that were typically associated with Asperger’s: “Individuals with Asperger's Syndrome are cognitively remarkable, they are impaired socially. There is no study or research advocating any delusional or hallucinatory kind of behaviour being displayed by them.”
Lobo’s letter highlighted that celebrities with a sizeable fan following have a “moral responsibility” to not “use fancy words without investigating their true meaning”. “Unfortunately, in (the bargain) the layman is affected by wrong disposition of true facts,” she added.
Lobo ended her note by urging Hrithik to apologise for hurting the sentiments of neurologically impaired individuals.
Lobo’s letter garnered a lot of support on social media, with several Twitter users sharing her missive and appreciating her stance.
— Karthik Srinivasan (@beastoftraal) March 16, 2016