Asperger’s syndrome

Asperger’s syndrome, like other autism spectrum disorders, is in many senses poorly understood (as you can see in the Wikipedia writeup, which includes only speculation as the biological basis; it was introduced as a formal classification only in 1994). Asperger’s is often characterized by a lack of recognition of social “rules”, compensated sometimes by exceptional (though highly literal) linguistic abilities and/or the ability to focus intently on certain subjects of interest. In this latter respect, of course, it bears some similarity to some forms of attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, although what little is known about the biological basis of Asperger’s suggests it’s quite different from ADHD. (I am still pouring over brain maps in an attempt to clarify this – I’m well out of my water there.)

My colleague Michael Goldberg maintains the Autism Bulletin blog, which has become a well-known resource for parents with autism spectrum kids, and recently summarized a powerful first-person account in The New Yorker of growing up with Asperger’s. I found even this small excerpt enlightening and moving.

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2 thoughts on “Asperger’s syndrome

  1. Asbergers… I actually had to go back and see if I had been spelling this diagnosis wrong the last 2 years. It was 2 years ago that my daughter whom we though had ADHD actually had this syndrome. 3 years ago she had been given a diagnosis of PDD-NOS… which means Pervasive Developmental Disorders – Not Otherwise Specified. At the time I faild to look it up because I knew she had numerous “problems” so I just agreed with their assessment and let it go. It was not until the new Diagnosis which I have spelled (and is spelled in her diagnosis as Asperger’s Syndrome. Asperger’s like PDD-NOS is just another scenario of Autism Spectrum Disorders or ASD. There are such a wide rage of symptoms that fit this disorder classification that it has become blurry even to some of us Parents who have children like this.

    My Daughter has exceptional verbal skills yet may not remember the months of the year. Spacial Skills and Math as well as social skills are at the extreme bottom of her abilities. The Stratification is just mind boggling….. but I am a lucky single daddy… she is good hearted and sweet and just a good kid…. so my “problems” are really often limited to assuring that her self esteem is kept high and her lack of abilities are “so-what” things and focus on her positive abilities and gifts like Art, Computers and Music.

    A special note… She is very much into a game called SIMS2 and other programs that allow her to build her own home and create a family, go to work take care of “babies” and almost everything that a regular person would have to go through in real life to take care of them selves from Personal hygiene to feeding themselves…. I recommend this program to anyone who would like to at least instill the mental knowledge of what it is like to live outside of mom and dads home, even if they may never be able to take care of themselves that way.

    My daughter takes a shower… but does not wash herself well…. and numerous other and simular issues… I have been told she will never be self sufficient and therefor am prepared to :keep” her with me as long as possible… HOWEVER this brings up another more important issue for Parents with children like or worse than my daughter… when they turn 18 they need to have guardianship as the child is considered a legal adult. If the parent(s) do this prior to the child’s 18th birthday they can apply to put the child on Social Security for Disability benefits which entitles the child to be paid those benefits based upon the Parents” income… this can be a considerable and sizable amount of EXTRA Money that the child will be getting to help support them.

    Sorry for the length of this reply… but wanted to share my own experiences with others. I hope it is helpful.

  2. Hi – thank you first for correcting my glaring spelling error (guess I got lost in the details and missed the obvious) and second for sharing thoughts and information.

    I understand that the array of symptoms can make accurate diagnosis of ASD challenging. Some of my friends have certainly had this experience.

    Love your emphasis on your daughter’s strengths and abilities.

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