Asperger's Syndrome: Intervening in Schools, Clinics, and Communities

Asperger's Syndrome: Intervening in Schools, Clinics, and Communities

Asperger's Syndrome: Intervening in Schools, Clinics, and Communities

Asperger's Syndrome: Intervening in Schools, Clinics, and Communities

Synopsis

In recent years, a growing number of children and adults have been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a neurological condition characterized by severe difficulties with social communication. While extremely talented in their areas of special interest, many with the diagnosis also have problems with coordination and sensory processing. Professionals and families struggle to help them function competently and make the most of their unique abilities. This readable and practical book synthesizes the latest knowledge about how to do so in various contexts from early childhood on. The authors include psychologists, psychiatrists, special educators, an occupational therapist, a specialist in communication disorders, and a lawyer, with diverse philosophies and methods of intervention. They suggest a variety of ways to help those with Asperger's adapt to the "neurotypical" world, and to bridge the social chasms that can develop as they are integrated into schools, organizations, and communities. Asperger's Syndrome: Intervening in Schools, Clinics, and Communities constitutes a vital new resource for all those who seek to improve the lives of individuals with the syndrome.

Excerpt

When, we, the editors, began studying Asperger's Syndrome in 1996 there was little information to be found. We were both hungry for more because we had family members and clients struggling with the symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome, and as psychologists, we hoped to be more useful to those we served. We assembled a small study group of faculty, staff, and students and began by reading Asperger's original article (1944/1991), which described children who had many of the characteristics of autism, including sensory and social differences and a variety of neurological problems, but who also appeared more connected to or interested in the world around them. Whereas Kanner's work on children who were more classically autistic was continued in this country, Asperger's work was all but ignored until the last decade.

Thus, our study group moved from reading Asperger's article written in 1944 to studying Attwood's Asperger Syndrome (1998) and Frith's Autism and Asperger Syndrome (1991), both published in the United Kingdom. We presented case studies of a few individuals we suspected had Asperger's Syndrome, trying to apply what we had learned. At that point, most of our academic colleagues or fellow clinicians had not even heard of the diagnosis, and any time we mentioned our work we were forced to launch into a description and explanation of the syndrome. We were thus inspired to produce a 30-minute descriptive video, Understanding Asperger's, filmed and directed by Jesse Gabryle (Welkowitz & Baker, 2000), an enthusiastic student in our college film department. When shown at the . . .

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