Asperger's Syndrome

Chat with others about dyspraxia and share your experiences.

Postby slinky_malinki » Sat Feb 26, 2005 6:39 pm

I'm going to post this on both the Dyspraxic Teens' site and Matt's forums to ensure maximum traffic. I'm really in a dilemma here and I hope that you'll all be able to offer some advice - especially if you have high-functioning autism or Asperger Syndrome.

There is a boy in my year at school who displays many of the classic signs of AS. All his subjects are maths and science-orientated and he is unable to understand the creative, denoting a totally logical mind. He doesn't have a good grasp of social codes - even I can pick up on this, and I'm not the most social thing on two legs myself! He tries very hard to fit in, even though he doesn't have a clue about what's really going on around him. As one girl put it, "He is always laughing at the jokes he does not understand!" He does not have one single real friend, as he's a poor conversationalist and nearly always ends up offending people by saying or doing inappropriate things. For example, at Christmas time he didn't write anything in his Christmas cards - he just handed them out blank. When everyone complained he seemed genuinely bewildered by the fuss and couldn't understand where he'd gone wrong.

He doesn't make eye contact when he talks to people. Neither do I (after all, dyspraxia and AS are related) so I have to take other people's word on this. When excited, he flaps his hands or displays other stereotypical AS traits. He barges in on conversations or starts speaking his thoughts aloud, expecting you to automatically know what's going on in his head. I believe the autism expert Simon Baron-Cohen refers to this as 'theory of mind'. This particular boy certainly doesn't have any! Some of the crueller elements of the school make a point of teasing him to his face, and he can't understand what's going on. He doesn't get sarcasm - once again, neither do I, so I know how he feels to some extent. He displays too many AS symptoms to write about here.

I mentioned my suspicions to a close friend, who saw no reason to keep quiet about them. He immediately informed this boy that we think he has AS. In the middle of a maths lesson. In front of ten or more students. The poor boy got really upset and angry, because he mistakenly believes that AS is some kind of debilitating mental illness that means you are either stupid or crazy.

A few days after this incident he abruptly walked out of a chemistry lesson. When a concerned student asked him why, he admitted that the crowds of people had been too much for him and had made him feel incredibly lonely. He was practically crying at one point.

I think that it would help him immeasurably if he knew what AS is really is. So many exceptionally intelligent people have it - like dyspraxia, it's not a disorder but just a different way of thinking. I know from my own experiences with diagnosis that exploring the official term does help your self-esteem. Once you know that you have specific problem areas and specific strengths, you can work on them both. I don't want to interfere in another person's life (my social skills training has definitely helped - once I wouldn't have thought twice about barging in!) especially where the subject is so sensitive. But I really don't want to stand idly by when someone is experiencing such high levels of distress, either.

Any suggestions on what to do?
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Postby k9ruby » Sat Feb 26, 2005 10:42 pm

u mite be interested, but when i was younger many docters thought i had as

but they just know its dyspraxia now! ;)
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Postby Spoon girl » Wed Mar 02, 2005 10:25 am

I'm sorry to hear that your friend is in distress about the situation. I also suspect someone I know to have AS but I don't know him well enough to mention it. He may even have been diagnosed. He doesn't seem in any distress over it though.
The first thing I would ask is for you to talk to him somewhere where there are no crowds or distractions but don't take him away from them. You don't want to make a show of him in front of the school! Just wait for a suitable moment. Make sure you know the facts. Get a print out. You say hes taken all science subjects so whether he has AS or not it will be easier to take in if its all logical. Don't get an article that rambles on, just get a print out of the symptoms and treatment. Just say to him that this was what was meant when the subject of AS came up and give him the hand out. If he is really in distress he will read it and then realise what AS really is.
Have you seen the CBBC programme Grange hill? there is a character with AS who goes through the prosses of diagnosis during the series. His name is Martin Miller so if you do a search then you should come up with some details and clips. I hope this is of some use.

Good luck
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Postby Charlotte1 » Wed Mar 02, 2005 5:26 pm

I was interested to read this forum as AS interests me, sometimes I think I may have a very mild form myself. I'm reading a book at the moment, freaks, geeks and Asperger syndrome told from the viewpoint of a 13 year old boy, Luke Jackson who has AS, it's brilliant

Anyway, getting back onto the subject, I too would suggest talking to the boy one-to-one and explaining the situation.

Good luck and let me know how you get on,

Charlotte x
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Postby k9ruby » Wed Mar 02, 2005 5:48 pm

book at the moment, freaks, geeks and Asperger syndrome told from the viewpoint of a 13 year old boy, Luke Jackson who has AS, it's brilliant


That is soo cool! I am too!

When I was little docters didn't have a clue, Some thought ai was AS some PDD-NOS, some CP but FINALLY Somone diagnosed me FINALLY with dyspraxia., I am a little confused as i have 'Mild AS' put on an 'IEP' and i saw it it on my DLA papers which i knew nothing about. I think mums got some explaining to do!!! <_<
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Postby slinky_malinki » Thu Mar 03, 2005 11:17 am

Asperger's Syndrome and dyspraxia often overlap. If I used my full label I would have 'severe dyspraxia with non-verbal learning disorder and elements of Asperger's Syndrome'. When you're trying to explain yourself to someone, you don't really want to have to spout off a sentence that long!

As AS and dyspraxia are so similar in some people, professionals don't always differentiate between the two. I think it's easier just to see yourself as a unique person and choose the label that best covers your difficulties overall, rather than to try and pin down every single symptom. If we did that we'd probably end up without about five different labels each! This is what my psychologist tells me on the assessment days.
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