Asperger’s syndrome is a mysteriously growing epidemic across the United States. This paper addresses the actual diagnoses process, the treatments, and how these children and adults can be placed into society as a normal individual. This paper also addresses the part of Asperger’s that is often overlooked and that is the senior generations and how they were able to blend into a regular society throughout their lives. The last item that this paper addresses is the view from the educators and how they are able or not able to work with students of all ages into a regular classroom. What is found in this paper is that throughout research children and adults with Asperger’s are able to blend into a regular functioning person in today’s society with minimal direction. What was also found is that in order for these persons to become a functioning member of society they need stability, atmospheric changes such as low lighting, and low noise and distraction levels amongst various other things. This paper will ultimately show that just because there is a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome this does not mean that they are retarded or mentally challenged. This is primarily a behavioral and a social disorder, not an intelligence problem.
Today there are many children and now adults diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome; this paper is to show that due to lack of knowledge of this syndrome Adults to children were un-diagnosed for years and even lifetimes. In addition this is to show what Asperger’s is, how this affects the person, and when left undiagnosed for years or even a lifetime how it affected the person(s), and lastly this will explain some methods that are found to be beneficial to the Asperger’s patient.
What is Asperger’s syndrome; these are questions that parents, educators, and extended friends and family have asked. According to Florence Levy and her paper “Theories of Autism”, she states “Asperger’s disorder is defined by similar criteria to autistic disorder, mainly qualitative impairment in social interaction and restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interest and activities, but specifies that there is no clinically significant general delay in language.” (Levy, 2007) She also notes:
“The impairment in social interaction is gross and sustained, and there may be marked impairment in the use of multiple none verbal behaviors (e.g. eye to eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures). There may also be a lack of varied, spontaneous make believe play, or social imitative play appropriate to developmental level. Speech development is delayed in the pitch, intonation, rates, rhythm or stress may be abnormal, with abnormal grammar and repetitive use of language or idiosyncratic language. Behavioral symptoms include odd responses to sensory stimuli (e.g. an over sensitivity to sounds were being touched, and fascination to certain repetitive stimuli and a lack of fever in response to real danger), as well as over activity, short attention Span, impulsivity, aggression, and self-injurious behavior. (Levy, 2007)”
When one is reading this information by Levy for the first time, it is a lot of Information to take in if this is in reference to your child. Teachers and or educators read this information and they seemed to assume that these children are dangers to others and to themselves and are problematic in the classrooms. Therefore, the students end up in special education classes labeling them as mentally challenged children, this places a stigma on these children for the rest of their education careers. The label on a child so utterly improper but the worst part is it is the child that suffers from this labeling. This labeling causes them to be wasted time of the teacher and the children are not challenged or given work that would be remotely rewarding for them. Surprisingly most children who have Aspergers syndrome actually have very high I. Q’s. Sadly, this is not about I. Q’s this is about labeling. This goes back to the old saying never judge a book by its cover this is the reason why. This child becomes discouraged eventually because they fill inadequate, bored, as well as a why bother attitude. Moreover, this does become a question of “why bother”.
So what is to be done for the students young to college age? The paper written by Christine Wenzel And Laura Rowley “ Teaching Social Skills and Academic Strategies to College Students with Asperger Syndrome”, this paper shows how a college started offering a specific course for students with Asperger syndrome for first year program this program students social skills and academic planning strategies for a successful school year. They state:
“The numbers of Aspergers syndrome entering the postsecondary realm are increasing and continue to be on the rise. Because the complexity and individuality the each to them with AS presents, college personnel should explore innovative and unique initiatives to meet the needs of this population. Disability service providers may find that their resources and staff are often stretched thin and extensive support services for the students may not be feasible. The implementation of a first year seminar course specifically for students with AS offers disability service providers a mechanism to connect with this population and offers comprehensive in a comfortable setting. (Wenzel & Rowley, 2010)”
They also stated, “This proactive relationship between faculty and disability service provider is extremely important in helping the faculty to understand how the student with Asperger syndrome will best succeed in the classroom (Wenzel & Rowley, 2010).” This program seems to be desirable not just in postsecondary education even so in elementary school, middle school, and high school education. This writer knows as a parent of an Aspergers child that the education system definitely is lacking in the awareness and flexibility as well as the patience that are necessary to fittingly educate the children.
Aspergers is also now being found in, the elderly population in significant numbers, which is not surprising if one were to think about this. We do know that Aspergers did not just appear the last twenty years. However, with this information we do know now that it is possible to grow up and live a normal functioning life as new population of newly diagnosed elderly people have done their whole lives. We see that just because they carry a label now with Aspergers does not mean the preceding part of their life before the diagnosis was nonfunctioning or low functioning. “… On a rather positive note, the cases to reveal that even people who possess major interpersonal problems are still able to live reluctantly successfully. Indeed the majority of our group had families and enjoyed full employment. The latter issue has clinical relevance, as it begs the question what types of relationships and forms of employment are best suited to someone with Aspergers. If therapist were able to obtain a better understanding of these, it may help us to develop better treatment procedures for assisting people with Aspergers to cope better in the community (IA, EM, & FK, 2006).” So what does this mean for the Aspergers adult? Is this saying that maybe we’re making too big of a deal at Aspergers or does this say that maybe we should look at how all these individuals were able to function and use them as a model for younger generations. According to Safron, He states:
” People with Asperger syndrome, often creative, highly intelligent, and technologically, mathematically, or scientifically astute, have the potential for momentous contributions to our society-the cure for the common cold may be down there and narrowly focused paths. Speculation that Thomas Jefferson had Aspergers persists. It is important to note that as these people age, it is the depression that is often associated with isolation that interferes in their functioning and contributes to a higher incidence of suicide. An effective deterrent to this isolation in a classroom environment that promotes acceptance of even the most the vexing child. In saving-child, we may in fact, be saving ourselves. (Safran, 2002) “
As a parent of a child that has Asperger’s syndrome it can be a very difficult disorder to deal with on a daily basis as a parent. This writer has found that public education and this disorder tend to conflict with each other. Having said that this, this writer has had to place her child then a homebound education program; this child works much better because there are no distractions, the lighting can be kept low, the diet can be monitored closer and many other benefits come along with utilizing this program.
In addition to all of this previous information on Aspergers syndrome, there are other disorders called Comorbid psychiatric disorders that are commonly affiliated with Aspergers. There are also some common misdiagnoses for psychiatric disorders that are not commonly affiliated yet are commonly misdiagnosed. There is a plethora of research, books, Web sites, support groups, specialist, medical center’s devoted to Aspergers, and even movies relating to Autism and Aspergers. Amongst all of this information, everyone forgets to discuss ADHD. There are but very few papers or journal entries related to ADHD as a Comorbid disorder with Asperger syndrome luckily this writer was able to find a very good article in relation to just this. Their other Comorbid disorders that go along with Aspergers Autism or better yet High-Functioning Autism; To some of those are affective disorders, schizophrenia, tics, anxiety disorders, oppositional defiant disorders, major depressive disorder, and this is shows to name a few. Some of these that were listed in the preceding sentence are very small chances the prevalence of the showing up as the Comorbid psychiatric disorder in association with Aspergers. However, some of these are often misdiagnoses of Aspergers Comorbid disorders. In this article is stated “Insomnia is a common and worsening problem. (Mattila, et al., 2010)” According to their study results the prevalence of initial insomnia was higher than 34 % for subjects with Asberger’s syndrome in comparison to none Aspergers syndrome children at 11% (Mattila, et al., 2010). This writer is fully aware of insomnia and its effects in the household on a child even as a small newborn. This writer’s child experienced insomnia almost instantaneously from birth; this child is now almost ten years old and otherwise a very healthy male. Nevertheless, if he does not receive a dose of clonidine 5 mg qd at Bedtime he will not sleep at all and may doze off around 4:00 AM or 5:00 AM for a brief nap and then can go the entire day with no sleep. This plays a major aspect on his education, attitude, and as every parent has knowledge of the “meltdowns”. Sleep is a vital aspect to anyone’s health; especially if they are, an Aspergers diagnosed patient. Sleep is also a vital aspect for the parents, educators, counselors, and relationships in general.
What transpires if a parent becomes defiant and will not except the diagnosis of Autism or Aspergers? Is this beneficial to the child or is this a hindrance in their growth relationally and educationally. When watching the movie about Temple Grandon, she was better yet known and the girl who thought like a Cow. Temple was diagnosed early on in her childhood with severe Autism because she was not able to speak nor did she want to be touched. Because of this diagnosis, Temple’s mother began to work continuously with Temple. This was until Temple was able to go to college and went on to Graduate programs and to be one of the best in the cattle Industry. She was able to design proper ways of slaughtering cattle without causing them much to stress making the death of easier for the cow as well as causing the meat to be better tasting due to last stress hormones running through the Cow. All of this was from her ability to see life like the cattle. She was even able to design a machine that was able to soothe her as it did the Cows; she said, “it felt like a hug(Grandon, 2009)”. This was the only way that she was able to learn how to be hugged. However if a parent chooses to take this path with their child they will have to be willing to commit to a lifetime of directive teaching to this child into adulthood. The possibilities of this working is good however one must be very careful to make sure that they are well equipped educationally, emotionally, and spiritually before they take this endeavor on, it is a large commitment; With this being said about Temple Grandon She still Struggles socially and with being touched by people. This illustration is to show that people with Autism are able to attend college and have careers however; it is still not without struggle.
So to talk about Comorbid disorders according to the journal study, ” Comorbid Psychiatric disorders Associated with Asperger Syndrome/ High-functioning Autism: A Community and Clinic based study (Mattila, et al., 2010)” showing that Anxiety Disorder topped in at the highest for Comorbid disorders at 39%. With this information presented, how do you keep a child or an adult from experiencing Anxiety symptoms on a regular day? The best way that has been shown is keeping a consistent schedule, routine, keeping the atmosphere in home quiet, and none chaotic, and find the perfect fit for your child for yourself when regards come to education in careers. There are the ideas that may surface in one’s home with their Child that may work for that particular person that may not work for someone else. This writer knows that lighting, Noise Levels, keeping things the same are all beneficial to the child as well as the family. If a child have what we, call as parents a ‘Meltdown’ is this same thing as an anxiety attack. When looking out this Question from the perspective of a researcher then one would say that the similarities in the symptoms strikingly resemble each other. When a child with Aspergers syndrome Has a meltdown is very similar to this example, “Doctor, when his routine gets slightly off and he cannot complete the daily rituals he is so used to while we are on vacation, he just loses it and I am not sure what to do with him when this happens. I am so embarrassed and then this just throws him for a loop for the entire day, what do we do?” This is not a real conversation that has taken place however this writer is positive somewhere in this world a mother has had this conversation with their pediatrician or their counselor as in what to do when the child’s daily routine has been altered by simple relaxing vacation. The problem is these children are very focused on ritualistic types of behaviors so when they wake up in the morning their custom to perform certain things that a certain time in a certain way. There is simply no changing that routine without disturbance; because if you to change a routine it is inevitable that it will stress them out causing ‘meltdown’. This is making them look outside of their focus area, which is typically very narrow, and without much room for any change. Change must be planned and must be discussed for quite a while before making the actual change, the child and or adult with Aspergers must be comfortable before making this huge leap of ‘eating breakfast first and then brushing his teeth’. If one knows that there will be change occurring in the future of any type is a wise to include the child and or the adult to ensure that they feel as if they have some control over the upcoming event.
Aspergers is no easy day in the life of the parent, the educator, and the Asperger’s seems to be daunting and it is sometimes making one feel of impossibility of the whole situation. However, many resources out there to help the parents, the educators, and the children and or adults suffer or have a loved one suffering from the Aspergers syndrome. There are great places to start such as the Internet with wonderful resources that include chat rooms with other parents and educators chat rooms for the children and adults that suffer with the Aspergers. In addition to their many web sites out there written by Physicians who specialize in Asperger’s syndrome who are willing and offering free advice to the parents of these children and how to make the daily routines easier by just performing some simple and basic every day task. There are also Web sites that tell about special facilities that are designed solely for Aspergers and Autism children to be able to obtain diagnosis and treatment plans. These places also offer things such as physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and cognitive therapies. Family counseling is also highly recommended because of the level of stress that the syndrome brings upon your average every day working class family. There are financial stresses, emotional stress, and spiritual stresses that If peer through the windows of the soul, heart, mind, and Body. It is important that you have someone to talk to and that you also have a full understanding of the road ahead, so that way one will feel supported as well as educated about the journey that they are to embark on. It is difficult to handle some days as a parent when you know that you did not sign up for this, you signed up to have a child that was normal.
In all aspects one must remember that this child is normal and perfectly designed in the image of God and there is nothing better than the child that you have been given as a blessing bestowed upon you because God new that you could handle nothing less than nothing more.
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”
—Matthew 18:1-6, 10-14
In conclusion, today there are many children and now adults diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome; this paper was to help show how that due to a lack of knowledge of this syndrome Adults to children were un-diagnosed for years and even lifetimes. This paper has shown what Asperger’s is, how this affects the person, and when left undiagnosed for years or even a lifetime how it could affect the person(s), and lastly explained some methods that are found to be beneficial to the Asperger’s patient.
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