I have people in my life and family whom I suspect are somewhere on the Asperger’s scale, although their diagnosis is not ‘official.’ In other words, they have symptoms of the disorder but have not been to a psychologist who may have made that pronouncement.
If you were brought to this blog because you entered ‘Asperger’s Syndrome’ in a Google search and you are interested in finding out about the disorder, especially for a child, I recommend the book, Asperger’s Answer Book by Susan Ashley, Ph.D. I found this book while tutoring at a ‘special needs’ school- a school with many students on the Asperger’s scale. It is a thorough and detailed resource for parents who are struggling with the reality that one of their children has been diagnosed with this disorder.
The disorder is rated on a sliding scale that ranges from mild [Asperger’s Disorder] to severe [Autistic Disorder.] These two are in fact subgroups of a larger diagnostic category called Pervasive Developmental Disorders. Asperger’s is often undiagnosed yet the child [adult] nonetheless experiences the symptoms of the disorder which, in fact, also impact those associated with the AS person.
Have you ever wondered about yourself? I have. As I think back those many decades to my own childhood, I question my own brain wiring. You know, your wiring can’t be fixed. Sorry. Asperger’s Disorder is permanent, like your fingerprints. While there is no ‘cure,’ there are ways of adjusting to the difficulties brought on by the disorder. Of course, children of the 40’s and 50’s were never ‘diagnosed’ with any childhood disorders or, for that fact, not even learning disabilities. Kids were either smart or dumb and perhaps a ‘troublemaker.’
Yet, was that troublemaker a willful troublemaker or was he [they usually were males] suffering from some childhood disorder? Teachers back then dealt with it by a slap on the head or paddling; they didn’t know better.
One of the synister difficulties with Asperger’s is that other conditions often co-exist with Asperger Disorder such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), depression, anxiety disorders, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). These disorders can mask the Asperger’s because the other co-existing disorders manifest themselves more strongly. For example, one can vividly ‘see’ ADHD in action.
The other day I suspected that an adult I know not only is somewhere on the Asperger’s scale, but also has OCD and perhaps Anxiety Disorder. Each of these is a major inhibitor of ‘normal’ adult functioning. All three can be disastrous. Life for this person can be, simply, awful. What was their childhood like? What if they did not have nurturing and understanding parents? Yet, of course, what parent is capable of understanding Asperger’s let alone all three combined in their child? Wow!
I wonder how these childhood disorders play out on the global scale. Is the U.S. typical of the rest of the world or do we have more children with disorders? I’ve heard some non-thinking people comment that what we need here in the U.S, is more swats on the rear end for our children. ‘That’s what taught me!’ they exclaim.
Sure it did.