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Posted by on Sep 1, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments


What Is Asperger’s Syndrome? Part 1

Asperger’s Syndrome has been in the news recently when eleven year Nadia Bloom wanted to see nature andwandered into the Florida swamps near her home. She was missing for four days before being found by searchers. Nadia has Asperger’s Syndrome, a mild form of autism.

At first glance, people with Asperger’s Syndrome will come across as quite normal. They have no noticeable physical deficiencies. Their speech development usually isn’t delayed (this is one of the things that differentiates Asperger’s from other types of autism, where speech delays are common). But, if you spend a little time with someone with Asperger’s you’ll start to notice little things that will clue you in to what’s going on.

Eye contact is a problem. When our son was younger, before we knew about his Asperger’s diagnosis, we would often try to force him to look at us when we were Tiveaddressing him directly, particularly if we were having to dole out some sort of punishment. “Look at my eyes,” we would say. And he would responded by placing his head in a position such that he should have been able to look at us in the eyes but his eyes were either turned downward or to the side. We don’t ask him to look us in the eye anymore, but this seems to have improved a bit. At least with us. With others, we still notice eye contact is rare.

Social relationships are extremely difficult. Our son, and many other Asperger’s patients, have trouble reading social cues. Because they have some behaviors that tend to be a little annoying to those around them, making and keeping friends is difficult. And when those around them have had enough and need their own space, as we all do from time to time, Asperger’s patients have difficulty picking up on that. So, they try harder. Which annoys the other person even further. It’s an unfortunate cycle.

Advanced knowledge in one or more subjects is not uncommon. I have a friend from college who’s daughter has Asperger’s Syndrome. The daughter is an expert in the Beatles. Our son has not found one specific subject in which he’s particularly interested, but he is highly knowledgeable in a number of subjects. He can discuss with you the formation of tornadoes. He can discuss several different eras of dinosaurs. He’s a whiz at computers. I taught him how to place chess and in our first non-teaching game, he beat me. I’m no Kasparov, but still, I should be able to beat a nine year old. Right?

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