Thursday, October 01, 2009

A. S. in Adults

October birthdays: Mar-3, Alison-6, Jeremy-23, Joseph-29, Alan-29.

Adults with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) were once children with Asperger's Syndrome. This seems a simple straightforward observation. But it is neither simple nor straightforward.

This disorder first surfaced about 70 yrs ago. Hans Asperger, a Viennese pediatrician, studied patients who were intelligent and verbal, but socially stilted with poor communication skills. During WWII his research was lost and has only come to light again in the 1980's.

Since the research is so new, it stands to reason that for most of their lives, adults with AS didn't know they had it. And it stands to reason that the problems that come with A
sperger's have dogged them all their lives, with no explanation other than the one hurled by kids at school — "You're weird." All their lives they've wondered how people successfully relate to others. Because the Aspie can't.

They embrace an all-engrossing world of a few passions. These passions are all they think about, or talk about. They can't tell if they've talked too long for a listener's comfort. The Aspie can't read the signs. They didn't know there were any signs.

Spouses may feel unloved and ignored. Their children may battle with depression, having never felt known as an individual, or loved in a discernible way by their AS parent.

Changes in habits and schedules and daily life are upsetting to the Aspie, and may prompt scenes or withdrawal. Lights may be too bright and blinding, and sounds may be too loud and penetrating. Their skin is often hypersensitive to whatever it touches. They avoid eye contact with others. Tight control over their routines creates a sense of order, keeping at arm's length a world that threatens to move in too closely.

Finally, often after years of withdrawal, the adult with Asperger's Syndrome now hears that there are reasons, other than the old school-yard taunt — "You're weird." Reasons that can be understood, and that help remove the stigma of disapproval. It's possible to learn how to deal with some issues that raise like sores for many with AS. The adult with Asperger's Syndrome can learn how to have healthy relationships.

Asperger's Syndrome is a neurological condition, a relative of autism. There's a certain relief that comes with finally knowing this. There is now hope for the AS adult to be able to learn what loved ones have been trying to communicate, in a language the Aspie can understand.
Aspergers Society of Ontario
Autism Central: Asperger Syndrome
Science Centric: Asperger's syndrome in adults
Better Health Channel: Asperger syndrome and adults
Wellsphere: Asperger Syndrome in Adults What are the Main Symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome in Adults

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this insightful article. It helps me to understand the struggle you have lived with all your life and to feel such sympathy for you in your struggle to understand
what so many of us just accept. Since knowing you, I feel I am able to sometimes
recognise Asperger's in others possibly and I try to be helpful to them. I know a family of
children who all have Asperger's - total of 4, they aren't sure about the 5th child, but these
kids are exceptionally brilliant and have gone on to colleges and universities all over the
country. One of the girls is studying to be a screen writer. The oldest boy is at Texas
A & N (is that right? the famous college there in Texas), and I believe he is studying some-
thing in the sciences. So you are in good company! Take care of yourself. My best to you, Cathy