I attended with two other moms and a psychology student who belong to my group, Central Michigan ASA, which sponsored the breakfast for the conference. We arrived well ahead of the 8:30 start time and heard that there was a waiting list of about 70 people who had wanted to attend. Dr. Attwood is best known for writing The Complete Guide to Asperger Syndrome. He also recently developed the CAT-kit, a kit designed to assist in teaching people with AS social skills.
Unfortunately getting there early meant getting up at 6 a.m. and on the road at 6:45. Ugh. I am not a morning person and was lucky to have an assistant (my loving husband) to wake me up and hand me a rather large mug of coffee as I stumbled out the door. However, fortunately leaving early and therefore arriving early meant getting a good table in the center of the second row.
The room was packed and people were still scrambling for seats when the president of the ASM introduced Dr. Attwood. Aside from two short breaks and an hour lunch, our speaker had the floor from the 8:30 a.m. start time to the 3:30 p.m. end time. Yes, he spoke the entire time, and with humor, good facts, and stories he made the time go really fast. I was impressed.
Here are a few key points that I hope you may find helpful. Some you may already know, some you may not:
A large amount of people with AS suffer from anxiety because of the way their brains have developed.
Aspies tend to have high intelligent quotients, but low social intelligence quotients.
Depression occurs in one of three adolescents and adults (mostly due to social rejection)
Aspies may express sadness and anxiety as anger (which tends to get them in a lot of trouble).
Many people with AS have post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from being teased.
Introducing yoga and meditation as relaxation skills may prevent Aspie from turning to drugs for help with relaxation.
Sometimes NT's (neurotypical people, not on the autism spectrum) are too subtle and need to be more direct with "Aspies".
*Young Aspies should spend at least an hour a week learning about emotions (and how they relate to social skills) from Kindergarten to twelfth grade.
One should always ask an Aspie if he/she needs a hug when they are upset, because it might be painful to him/her.
Some Aspies don't cry because they are afraid of getting hugged.
A lot of men with AS end up marrying women with high social I.Q's. These women tend to be nurses, teachers, social workers, etc.
Aspies may be inclined to spend a lot of time in their room because that is where they are the "kings of their own castles."
*This is the bit of knowledge I appreciated the most. I'll have to spend more time working on this with my eleven year old son.