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Friday, February 26, 2010 Take The Asperger's Syndrome Test Take The Asperger's Syndrome Test

OASIS @ MAAP - U.S. Autism Prevalence Rises to 1 in 110

What is Asperger Syndrome?

by Dr. Tony Attwood

Dr Hans Asperger, an Austrian pediatrician, originally described Asperger’s Syndrome in 1944. The syndrome has more recently been classified as an autistic spectrum disorder. Children and adults with Asperger’s Syndrome have an intellectual capacity within the normal range, but have a distinct profile of abilities that has been apparent since early childhood. The profile of abilities includes the following characteristics:

  • A qualitative impairment in social interaction:
    • Failure to develop friendships that are appropriate to the child’s developmental level.
    • Impaired use of non-verbal behaviour such as eye gaze, facial expression and body language to regulate a social interaction.
    • Lack of social and emotional reciprocity and empathy.
    • Impaired ability to identify social cues and conventions.
  • A qualitative impairment in subtle communication skills:
    • Fluent speech but difficulties with conversation skills and a tendency to be pedantic, have an unusual prosody and to make a literal interpretation.
  • Restrictive Interests:
    • The development of special interests that is unusual in their intensity and focus.
    • Preference for routine and consistency.

The disorder can also include motor clumsiness and problems with handwriting and being hypersensitive to specific auditory and tactile experiences. There can also be problems with organisational and time management skills and explaining thoughts and ideas using speech. The exact prevalence rates have yet to be determined, but research suggests that it may be as common as one in 250. The aetiology is probably due to factors that affect brain development and not due to emotional deprivation or other psychogenic factors.
The characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome described above are based on the diagnostic criteria and current research and have also been modified as a result of my extensive clinical experience. I would like to provide a personalised description of Asperger’s Syndrome that also incorporates the person’s qualities as well as their difficulties.

From my clinical experience I consider that children and adults with Asperger’s Syndrome have a different, not defective, way of thinking. The person usually has a strong desire to seek knowledge, truth and perfection with a different set of priorities than would be expected with other people. There is also a different perception of situations and sensory experiences. The overriding priority may be to solve a problem rather than satisfy the social or emotional needs of others. The person values being creative rather than co-operative. The person with Asperger’s syndrome may perceive errors that are not apparent to others, giving considerable attention to detail, rather than noticing the ‘big picture’. The person is usually renowned for being direct, speaking their mind and being honest and determined and having a strong sense of social justice. The person may actively seek and enjoy solitude, be a loyal friend and have a distinct sense of humour. However, the person with Asperger’s Syndrome can have difficulty with the management and expression of emotions. Children and adults with Asperger’s syndrome may have levels of anxiety, sadness or anger that indicate a secondary mood disorder. There may also be problems expressing the degree of love and affection expected by others. Fortunately, we now have successful psychological treatment programs to help manage and express emotions.

Copyright © 2005 Tony Attwood

What is Autism?

by Susan J. Moreno, M.A.A.B.S., founder and president of MAAP Services for the Autism Spectrum

Autism is a life-long developmental disability. This means that it impairs various aspects of typical development and lasts a lifetime.

Autism is a syndrome, which means that it is a condition defined by the existence of a collection of characteristics. For example:

Individuals with autism experience difficulty in verbal and/or nonverbal communication, which ranges in extremes from not speaking at all to being unable to interpret body language or to participate comfortably in two-way conversation.

People with autism exhibit rigidity in thought processes, which can include difficulty with learning abstract concepts, generalizing information, and tolerating changes in routines and/or environments.

The most outstanding hallmark of autism is difficulty with reciprocal social interaction. This can range from appearing to want social isolation to experiencing social awkwardness in attaining and maintaining ongoing relationships.

The symptoms of autism are usually apparent within the first 36 months of life. However, in the case of very high-functioning individuals, symptoms may not be apparent until later in life.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Let me introduce myself.  My name is SuZann and I'm the mother of 3 sons, ages 40, 21 and 20 years old, and 1 daughter, age 36.  I also have 5 perfect grandchildren, from age 5 to 15 years old.  I have been interested in learning about ways to teach children with autism since my two youngest boys were diagnosed 15 years ago.  I attended every class, conference, and lecture I could find.  They fascinate me.  They frustrate me.  They teach me.  I wouldn't trade one minute of my journey with them for anything.  I also manage a day care center and I have been blessed to work with some exceptional children with autism along the entire spectrum.  I am new to blogging but love it.  I've always wanted to write and I think I've found my forum.  With this blog I'd like to share my tips and tricks and just cheer on everyone out there who is struggling and living with someone with autism.  Feel free to ask questions, give advice, or just vent.  Feeling like someone knows what you're going through can help so much.  Trust me, I've been there.