Monday, July 21, 2008

Article About Adults and Asperger's Syndrome

Today I'm going for a personal record for my fastest post ever! Here is a link to an article about adults and Asperger's syndrome that I thought was informative. The most enlightening bits are in the following paragraphs:

"Even Asperger's is listed under the category "usually first diagnosed in infancy, childhood or adolescence" in psychiatry's official guidebook, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and it was only in 1994 that the syndrome was added.

Adults with Asperger's have normal or above normal intelligence, but their social skills are disastrous. They avoid eye contact, have difficulty forming relationships and can't pick up on normal social cues.

Some are diagnosed with social anxiety disorder or depression. "You treat the depression but then you're left with somebody who still is a bit odd and eccentric," Elliott says. "That may be the first time they actually come to somebody's attention. ... the reason he's depressed is because he can't develop relationships. Even though we've treated his depression, he's still stuck with disability."

Note: I'm off for a short blogging break. I'll be back Wednesday or Thursday.

July 22 update: I usually add a my thoughts section which explains my position as well as why I have chosen an article. I didn't really have time to do so when I first posted, so I will add that section now.

My thoughts: Mostly I feel this article may be helpful to adults who have struggled all their lives socially, but have never heard of Asperger's Syndrome (AS) before. For some (but not all) people, knowledge of AS can be helpful towards explaining why one has had one uncomfortable social interaction after another. What is disastrous is being constantly rejected socially and not having a clue as to why or what to do about it.

In contrast, children with AS who are currently raised by knowing parents may have the benefits of successful interventions and may in some cases develop a stronger self identity and better self esteem as a result of knowing about having this condition. This is my hope for my son. Currently, my son has some difficulty in social situations, but not all interactions are disastrous. He has some great social skills such as smiling when appropriate and being appreciative.

That said, there is a certain person I'm thinking of who could have benefited from knowing about AS a long, long time ago. The person I'm referring to is a parent who had a couple of episodes of deep depression as a result of a couple of impossibly difficult social situations. This same person struggled with low self esteem for years and years before realizing that a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome could go a long way in explaining some social difficulty when in most situations outside of family life. This knowledge was a relief more than anything else. It helped alleviate some of the pain of this particular person's internal struggle.

For more of my insights and the insight of another blogger please see the first two comments below. Thank you.


Catana said...

You and I have different ideas about what is informative. I read this article just before finding your post and was appalled. It's the usual misinformation that depends on the most extreme descriptions. It gives the impression that all people with Asperger's are alike in their traits. "their social skills are disastrous" is far from enlightening; it's a stereotype.

Maybe instead of being in such a rush to post, you should have read the article more carefully.

J said...

To Cantana: Usually, when I post about articles, I add a "my thoughts" section. That is where I'm guilty of haste. I didn't explain why I thought it was informative. Mostly what I was thinking of was all the people out there with AS born a couple of decades before Asperger's Syndrome was officially recognized. It's very possible that many have been diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder and/or depression. They are given meds for those "symptoms" (for lack of a better word, but have very little to go on as to why they haven't fit in socially. Knowing about Asperger's Syndrome and how it applies to their quirks can be enlightening and possibly assuring.

As for some of the reporter's choice of words, I do realize that there were some that were potentially offending such as "disastrous" and "disability."