Asperger Syndrome and Autism
You've probably heard of autism, but what is Asperger syndrome?
Treatment and Diagnosis continued...
Newman has observed a very different problem. "I find that many parents
very strongly believe that something is amiss, and they are told by their
pediatrician, 'No, everything is fine, you're being nervous. Give it another
six months,'" he says.
Unfortunately, experts do agree that time is the key to making progress with
AS, and it's important parents pay attention. "The first thing you look for
is if your kid is more deeply interested in himself -- the main thing is that
they don't engage in the world like others do," says Schuler. "They are
intelligent but can't carry on a social conversation or interaction."
Newman says that with intensive treatment the possibilities are very good
for tremendous progress to be seen. "Without treatment, most people
unfortunately do require tremendous help throughout their lives just to
function in everyday life. With early intensive intervention, however, the
outlook may be much brighter."
Growing Older With Asperger Syndrome
Many adults with Asperger syndrome are successful academically, and move on
to jobs. "Where they tend to be held back is on the social side in terms of
relationships. Many of them are very lonely and suffer from depression because
they can't make friends," says Baron-Cohen.
Indeed, relationships prove difficult for people with Asperger syndrome, and
divorce is more likely as well.
These patients might also find themselves limited in their careers; some of
them don't advance at work, says Baron-Cohen, because of a lack of people
skills or difficulty with managerial responsibilities. But that doesn't mean
that people with AS don't have the same desires as everyone else. "The
desires are the same in terms of wanting a close relationship, and some people
with AS do manage relationships," says Baron-Cohen. "It's about if they
can meet a partner who accepts how they are different."
That is likely one of the largest challenges -- the fact that people with
this problem are often so misunderstood by other people, finding support for
parents, children, and adults with AS is extremely important. Schuler says
networking with other parents has improved life for his family -- something
other parents often take for granted. "When you join support groups, and
find a community of people with similar issues, you look out for each other.
You discuss everything from what rights you have in certain districts to how to
With new research the future may bring more valuable treatments and a
greater understanding of Asperger syndrome. While kids and adults with the
condition may find it difficult to connect, parents will likely find the
opposite to be true. "One good thing about Asperger's is that you will
always be in touch with your kid's teachers and administrators," Schuler
says, of being well connected to the people in his son's life. "You don't
just put your kid on a bus and send them off to get educated. You can't
possibly be disconnected from your kids and their education when they have