Understanding Asperger's Syndrome

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When you hear the word “developmental disability” most people would automatically look for a physical disability, but that’s not always the case. There're disabilities that you can’t see with the naked eye and Asperger’s syndrome is one of them. Asperger’s syndrome as defined by Autism Speaks Canada is “an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) considered to be on the “high functioning” end of the spectrum” (Asperger’s Syndrome, n.d.). The book Look Me in the eyes by John Elder Robison details John’s life as he grows up with an undiagnosed disability until the age of forty when he learns he has Asperger’s syndrome. To fully understand Asperger’s syndrome, it is important to look at the signs and symptoms of Asperger’s, the problems that these symptoms …show more content…
Some symptoms associated with Aspergers include; depression and anxiety, issues with social interactions and lack of eye contact. They can also show signs of behavioural issues such as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder and obsessive tendencies. Some people even show savant skills associated with numbers, mathematics, mechanical and spatial skills. Although those with Asperger’s syndrome do not face any language or cognitive delays they show profound deficiencies when it comes to social communication skills. Social interactions can seem difficult for people with Asperger’s syndrome as they don’t understand simple nonverbal communication cues or may not understand the difference between what’s appropriate in certain settings. They might also have awkward mannerisms or issues with motor skills, which may cause clumsiness. Another symptom is that they often have one sided conversations, forgetting to ask about the other person life. With this particular symptom the person might come off as self-centred or emotionless. For example, in the book, John had taught himself “…to remember what’s happening with people close to my …show more content…
Many people use cognitive behavioural therapy to learn social skills and control emotions. Speech and language therapy can help with conversation skills. For example, John developed facial expressions that were “socially acceptable” in different situations rather than his normal emotionless facial expressions. John “learned to pause before responding when people approach … and then begin speaking” (Robison, 2007, p. 239). These adaptive skills help individuals with Asperger’s so they can function in the real world without any problems. Early intervention is key and parents play a big role when it comes to providing these individuals with a more intensive level of care. This might include creating opportunities for them to socialize, creating daily routines and schedules along with providing them with constant companionship. Constant support opportunities like these can help children with Asperger’s syndrome learn how to cope with their symptoms. In the book Look me in the eye, John’s parents did not know how to deal with him or help him with his difficulties, they did take him to therapy but the therapists categorized John as a rude and self-centered young man. They did not believe John had any disability but instead was just a lazy kid. Early intervention and diagnosis can truly help someone with Asperger’s

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