This collection of papers brings together various perspectives that might initially appear disparate in their views. Nevertheless, my hope is that the reader will also recognize the themes and issues that run throughout this book. Regardless of the “confusions and controversies” (Frith 2003) about AS, we have been able to generate an initial foundation of practice knowledge. It is exciting, and at the same time disconcerting, to realize that this knowledge base is not static. This volume has provided a survey of the current state of practice and research related to AS. First-hand accounts of ASDs have provided, and continue to provide, valuable instruction for the practitioner and researcher. It is hoped that this book will be a catalyst for similar future discussions.
Considering our preoccupation with defining a discrete set of symptoms that characterize “Asperger Syndrome”, we find our attempts are often problematic. Ultimately, a true understanding of AS must reach beyond the controversies about diagnosis, and beyond available research. The breadth of human personality, emotion, cognitive characteristics, social relating, sensory processing – in a word, “neurodiversity” (Harmon 2004) – cannot be simply captured, as Peter Jansen has stated, “in a static, inert framing of words”. This is not to say there is no utility in such a label; its worth is clear in this volume. However, realization must also occur as to the limits of this enterprise.
In any discussion of a “social disability” we cannot help take note of the various contexts in which such difference is most apparent – in families, schools, workplaces, and the community. The presentation of symptoms related to AS is often dependent on the individual's surroundings. Any consideration of supporting individuals with AS therefore needs to be contextually based.
Many parents I have worked with embrace all the traits of their children with AS, including those related to AS. There is much about individuals with AS to enjoy, not the least of which is their strong appreciation for human diversity. As “neurotypical” as I profess to be, I am always strangely comforted when somebody with AS boasts about their knowledge of a particular subject, their narrow range of interests, or their ability to function without so much human