Saturday, August 19, 2006

Asperger's Syndrome

Last week, I discovered that one of my good friend's children has been diagnosed with 'some characteristics' that may be Asperger's Syndrome. While I am relatively familiar with autism, I have not heard much before about this particular 'autism spectrum disorder.' My friend is being very brave and is doing all of the right things to try to help her child. She and her son and the rest of the family (dad and little brother) have been through the ringer with testing, including a visit to the University of Kansas. Her 7-year-old boy is very bright but was language delayed and still stutters when he is nervous. He's usually stuttering around me because he's so excited when company comes to visit. But he is quite persistent in getting his message across and is highly intelligent. It appears that a great deal of research has been done in this field and that unless his "symptoms" worsen, some simple behavior modification on the part of his parents and occasionally his teachers (ie not assigning him a seat in the back of the room), he will be able to adjust accordingly. I certainly hope so. It's yet another one of life's challenges that we can't prepare for ahead of time. But, as many autism spectrum disorder websites point out, we need to remember to celebrate all of the things a child does correctly instead of only focusing on some minor challenges.

Please let your friend know that one of the best college debaters I've ever coached has Asperger's. He's currently working on an MA in comm studies and applying to PhD programs in history for next year. He's blessed to have a special-ed teacher for a parent and I doubt it is a severe case, but Aspberger's can be a challenge to coping skills instead of horrible news.
Thanks for the info - that's good to know. It just demonstrates the positive powers of the internet - helping someone find out they are not the only one dealing with particular challenges.
Hi Kelly - just wondering if your friend might have a blog? We are in the very early stages of having my son (almost 5) evaluated for various reasons, including the concern he may have Asperger's Syndrome.
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