Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Questions about Asperger's Syndrome

Today, I have received a number of inquiries about my writings on Asperger's Syndrome. This may be because of the coverage on "Dr. Phil's" show (which I have heard was not very favorable). Here are some questions that one person sent me along with my answers:

I just read your page. All I have are a few questions.

1. Are you for real?
Yes. ;)

2. No, really, how solid is your Asperger's diagnosis?
Since I have moved several times, I have seen three different psychiatrists and two psychologists who have confirmed the diagnosis.

3. I know nothing about it, does the medical community really know more than I do?

Individual differences between individuals with AS tend to differ a great deal, so you really need to know more about the individual than about AS per se. A lot of research has been done about AS in recent years and we are learning more and more.

4. Are there other individuals, such as yourself, who fit into the DSM-IV definition, but who are also fairly successful in life?

Yes. Temple Grandin has designed more than one third of all cattle processing plants in the U.S. Vermon Smith received the Nobel price is economics a few years ago.

5. Is Aspergers a gift or a curse?
It is probably a bit of both. For many, it is more of a curse. I do not know what life without AS would be like. For some people who have more severe problems, it is much more of a curse.


WINIFRED said...

My son is a freshmen in college and recently had some difficulty
with a final project for a class. He had a B+ before the final
project but did not complete the final project to the professor
satisfaction. I asked that he be given an incomplete and allowed
to finish it. This was refused. He was told to take the class
over again. I was wondering what would be the best thing for him.
This class is one thing but what happens in the future. Because
of his unusually social interaction ( are lack of same) he is not
likely to approach a professor or anyone else for help.
He is a bright person but am I leading him into more rejection
and frustration if no one has a handle on his needs. There is a
student assistance office , but the head of that office said his
asking for more time or an incomplete was in appropiate for his
condition. What do you think?

Lars Perner, Ph.D. said...

Although you do not explicitly state this, I assume that your son has a diagnosis for Asperger's Syndrome and is being evaluated for accommodations based on this. Since individuals with AS differ a great deal among themselves, I cannot say one way or another whether this would be appropriate. If you son has serious problems with "executive function," extensions may be more appropriate. If the issue is more one of communication, requesting extensions or incompletes may be more difficult. Realistically speaking, the decision in most cases will probably be up to the instructor. You may be better off trying to negotiate accommodations individually through the instructor rather than relying on administrators who may need to proceed cautiously. The book Ask and Tell, edited by Stephen Shore, has a chapter written by Kassianne Yelbis on managing special accommodations requests and may be helpful in forming a strategy.

Megan said...

I do a comic/graphic novel on aspergers syndrome. All about the struggles and how this aspergers girl sees things.