Pretending to Be Normal: Living with Asperger's Syndrome

Pretending to Be Normal: Living with Asperger's Syndrome

Pretending to Be Normal: Living with Asperger's Syndrome

Pretending to Be Normal: Living with Asperger's Syndrome

Excerpt

The autism umbrella is vast. Within its boundaries is a wide range of abilities and disabilities; a wide range of differences. It is a fluid diagnosis, one that has no definite beginning and no certain end. Scientists are uncertain as to how it is caused. Educators debate how to manage it. Psychologists are baffled about how to differentiate among its various labels. Parents are not certain how to deal with any of it. And those with autism are too often without any voice at all. Autism touches many, and yet, it is one of the most misunderstood developmental disorders.

This book peers under the umbrella of autism and looks at Asperger's Syndrome (AS), a relatively new autism-related diagnosis, first discussed by Hans Asperger in 1944, but generally unheard of until researchers, including Uta Frith, Lorna Wing and Tony Attwood, brought it to international attention in the 1990s. People with AS, like their autistic cousins, have impairments in socialization, communication and imagination, albeit to a less significant degree. According to the diagnostic criteria set forth by Gillberg and Gillberg (1989), people with AS have: social interaction impairments, narrow interests, an insistence on repetitive routines, speech and language peculiarities, non-verbal communication problems and motor clumsiness. That having been said, it is essential to realize that each of these symptoms is manifested in a variety of unique and diverse ways, depending upon the overall abilities of the person affected. Within AS, there is a wide range of function. In truth, many AS people will never receive a diagnosis. They will continue to live with other labels or no label at all. At their best, they will be the eccentrics who wow us with their unusual habits and stream-of-conscious creativity, the inventors who give us . . .

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