Friday, June 20, 2008

Asperger's Syndrome

They say that one in a hundred a fifty kids now are on the autism spectrum.
Despite what official twits, such as Michael Savage say, Autism is real, and no matter how much my son "straightens up" and "acts like a man" he still a person with Autism.

Asperger's Syndrome is as much of a puzzle to me as other forms of autism. I watch my boy, who can't catch a ball, can't run, can't walk without tripping, has many odd mannerisms and a strange tone of voice, struggles with friendships, and needs to be taught many many things that neurotypical children just naturally pick up, such as how close to stand to a person, and how many times to repeat something for emphasis. (He likes to repeat things five to seven times on average)

Here is a formal definition I lifted from somehwhere:

"Asperger’s Syndrome is part of the Autism Spectrum. It is characterized by poor social interactions, obsessions, odd speech patterns, and other peculiar mannerisms. Although children with Asperger’s have an average to above average intelligence, they sometimes have specific learning issues and difficulty reading the body language of others. They also tend toward obsessive routines, unusual special interests or preoccupations, and sometimes display a sensitivity to sensory stimuli (for example, they may be bothered by a light that no one else notices; they may cover their ears to block out sounds in the environment; or they might prefer to wear clothing made only of a certain material)."

People with Asperger's Syndrome need help with pragmatic language and abstract thinking.
There should be more awareness among educators on how to best help children with Asperger's Syndrome in school. As it stands, there isn't enough, and children with AS are bullied, misunderstood, and treated as if they are strange and inferior, not as if they have a significant disability. This can cause lifelong pain, which just isn't necessary, and their many strengths are not often recognized.

Let's get some teacher workshops in schools, shall we?

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