Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Life with Aspergers Syndrome

What is Aspergers?
Asperger's syndrome, also called Asperger's disorder, is a type of pervasive development disorder (PDD). PDDs are a group of conditions that involve delays in the development of many basic skills, most notably the ability to socialize with others, to communicate, and to use imagination.
Although Asperger's syndrome is similar in some ways to autism -- another, more severe type of PDD -- there are some important differences. Children with Asperger's syndrome typically function better than do those with autism. In addition, children with Asperger's syndrome generally have normal intelligence and near-normal language development, although they may develop problems communicating as they get older.
Asperger's syndrome was named for the Austrian doctor, Hans Asperger, who first described the disorder in 1944. However, Asperger's syndrome was not recognized as a unique disorder until much later.

Two of my kids have the Aspergers diagnoses and pretty much fit the symptoms to a T. I have had many conversations with doctors, psychologists and teachers over the years, trying to figure out how my children see the world and it came to no surprise to me, when all groups agreed with the Aspergers diagnoses.

Kids with Aspergers see the world differently. Most don't understand non-verbal communication. For instance, I could smile with appreciation at my son who took out the trash without being told to, but he wouldn't make the connection that I was thanking him.

Or I could look crossly at my almost 15 yr old who did something inappropriate at family meeting, but she won't understand that look means "Stop doing that", unless I verbally tell her to stop.

Life with an Autism Spectrum Disorder is vastly different for children, who live in a world that is not totally understood, even by the most trained of doctors.

  • Problems with social skills: Children with Asperger's syndrome generally have difficulty interacting with others and often are awkward in social situations. They generally do not make friends easily.
  • Eccentric or repetitive behaviors:Children with this condition may develop odd, repetitive movements, such as hand wringing or finger twisting.
  • Unusual preoccupations or rituals: A child with Asperger's syndrome may develop rituals that he or she refuses to alter, such as getting dressed in a specific order.
  • Communication difficulties: People with Asperger's syndrome may not make eye contact when speaking with someone. They may have trouble using facial expressions and gestures, and understanding body language. They also tend to have problems understanding language in context.
  • Limited range of interests: A child with Asperger's syndrome may develop an intense, almost obsessive, interest in a few areas, such as sports schedules, weather, or maps.
  • Coordination problems: The movements of children with Asperger's syndrome may seem clumsy or awkward.
  • Skilled or talented: Many children with Asperger's syndrome are exceptionally talented or skilled in a particular area, such as music or math.

I know for my children, the very best thing I can do for them is to accept them for who they are. To be patient and understanding, as they try to understand their world.

Also it is very important, that the child's teachers understand fully about your child's diagnoses. Our family is going through a major transition right now, because our 13yr old is not getting the right kind of special education that he needs to be successful at school.

We are considering a home school environment for him.

Most children with Aspergers will require some kind special education

Special education: Education that is structured to meet the child's unique educational needs.

Behavior modification: This includes strategies for supporting positive behavior and decreasing problem behavior by the child.
Speech, physical, or occupational therapy: These therapies are designed to increase the child's functional abilities.
Medication : There are no medications to treat Asperger's syndrome itself, but drugs may be used to treat specific symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, hyperactivity, and obsessive-compulsive behavior.

  • Whatever the diagnoses you are dealing with...It is important that you stay focused on the solutions, not the problems. Uplift your child every chance you get. Let them know that being different, or having challenges, is not something to be ashamed of.

And most importantly....THRIVE ON!


  1. Thank you Kristi, I enjoy reading and following your blog and I deal with these issues as well with three of my grandsons. People mistake the ones with Asperger's as "trying to make trouble" most of the time, thinking they should know better, but they really don't! You are such a blessing to me, thank you!

  2. I have PDD nos similar to autism and asperger's.
    In California asperger's is not a disabiliy so a diagnosis is little help but autism diagnosis is. Note to the blog writer, it seems you live in Colorado in your state there is a college program called college living experience which helps people with asperger's succed in college. I was rejected from a similar program out here in California. Just yahoo College Living Experience and you will find their website. Sorry for poor spelling if any.