Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Asperger Syndrome

Is It Asperger Syndrome?
From Lisa Jo Rudy,
Your Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Diagnosis: Asperger SyndromeDo you find yourself confused in social situations? Are you passionately interested in a single topic? Is it tough for you to make and maintain eye contact? Then you, like many talented and intelligent adults, may be diagnosable with Asperger’s Syndrome.

What does it mean to have Asperger’s Syndrome? Clearly, since so many successful people seem to have the diagnosis (Dan Ackroyd, for one, announced his diagnosis on the air -- and rumor has it that Bill Gates may also have Asperger’s) it is not a disability in the classic sense. In fact, some historians suggest that Einstein, Mozart, and Alan Turing (the inventor of the first electronic computer) may all have been diagnosable with Asperger’s.
Many “aspies” (a term that teens and adults with Asperger’s Syndrome sometimes use to refer to themselves) have been bullied or teased as children. They may be awkward with the opposite sex. And they may have a tough time maneuvering through complex social cues at school, at work, or elsewhere.

I find social situations confusing. YES
I find it hard to make small talk. YES
I did not enjoy imaginative story-writing at school.
I am good at picking up details and facts. YES
I find it hard to work out what other people are thinking and feeling. YES
I can focus on certain things for very long periods. YES
People often say I was rude even when this was not intended. YES
I have unusually strong, narrow interests. YES
I do certain things in an inflexible, repetitive way. YES
I have always had difficulty making friends. YES YES YES

If you do answer “yes” to many of these questions relative to yourself or a loved one, you may have uncovered an undiagnosed case of Asperger’s Syndrome. For some teens and adults, this is a tremendous relief: it puts a name on a set of issues that has troubled them throughout their lives. And it also opens the door to support, treatment, and community.

But there is no obligation to do anything at all about Asperger’s Syndrome. In fact, many adults feel that being an “aspie” is a point of pride. They are unique, often successful individuals who are simply … themselves!

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