What is Aspergers?

GENIUS © Slobodan Mračina | Dreamstime.com

 

What is Aspergers? Well, I’ll start by saying what Aspergers isn’t. It isn’t a mental illness, it isn’t a disability. The symptoms of Aspergers are many, complex and varied. Aspergers is a different way of thinking and a different way of seeing the world. An Aspergers child has many unique abilities, acute powers of observation and intense ability to focus. Unfortunately Aspergers is often peppered with social and learning disorders that may make school life difficult or even unbearable for the child. But there is no reason, with the right guidance and interventions, that the Aspie child can’t grow up to be a fully functioning and thriving member of society, having successful social and intimate relationships along the way.

The first thing that my son’s school psychologist told me was that the thing to remember with Aspergers, is that all the most successful inventors and multi-milionaires in the world have Aspergers. And she told me that without people with Aspergers the wheel would not have been invented. Many great scientists (including Einstein), composers, engineers and artists have/had Aspergers and lead very successful lives.

No two Aspergers children are alike, and it is essential to get to know the needs of your own child. Dr Temple Grandin (a famous animal behaviourist living in the United States who has Aspergers) says that children with Aspergers generally have one of three thinking styles: visual, music and math and verbal logic, or even a combination (I have a combination of two of them).

The thing that defines a child as having Aspergers or an Autism Spectrum Disorder, is a difficulty in three areas. It is generally accepted that these are: social interaction, communication, imagination. The degree to which the child has difficulty will vary from child to child. Some Aspergers children will seek out friendships and enjoy social interaction, whereas others may prefer to play on their own. Some children may develop strategies to communicate more effectively, and other children may have a rich imagination, although this will commonly be based on experience and they will mimic things they have seen others do or things they have seen on TV or in movies.

The way we can best help our children is to aid their social interaction, by explaining people’s motivations and naming their emotions, often social stories can help with this. Teaching manners and social conventions is important, and children will often make mistakes, but over time they will eventually learn from their mistakes. This will also help with communication, as they learn how to express themselves in an appropriate way. They will often say things that they think may be polite, but others may not think it is polite.

Imagination should be encouraged. This can be in the form of making up stories, dressing up if they enjoy this, or making or creating things. Often Aspie children love building with lego or doing craft. Some can be little engineers, girls (and boys) may enjoy tea parties with their toys, many love being artistic and this is a great way of letting them express their emotions while using their imaginations.

Another Social Stories  Link

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One Response to What is Aspergers?

  1. Pingback: Brain Science of Aspergers and Autism: Introduction « Wizzkids

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