And then I forgave her, after about seven years. She wanted to educate parents and counselors about the disorder. She wanted to erase its stigma.
View all New York Times newsletters. I wonder: If I had been born five years later and given the diagnosis at the more impressionable age of 12, what would have happened?
I might never have tried to write about social interaction, having been told that I was hard-wired to find social interaction baffling. The authors of the next edition of the diagnostic manual, the D. This may reverse the drastic increase in Asperger diagnoses that has taken place over the last 10 to 15 years.
Many prominent psychologists have reacted to this news with dismay.
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Under the rules in place today, any nerd, any withdrawn, bookish kid, can have Asperger syndrome. The definition should be narrowed. Tell us what you think.
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Sign Up. You will receive emails containing news content , updates and promotions from The New York Times. You may opt-out at any time. The majority of AS children are diagnosed between the ages of 5 and Children diagnosed with AS generally show normal development until age 4 in speech, self-help skills and curiosity about the world around them. In February , new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC indicates that in many areas of the United States the rate of autism in 8-year-olds is as high as one in One prominent researcher, Dr.
Others argue that the term high-functioning autism should apply only to children severely impaired early in their history but who go on to improve.
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AS children, they claim, are fundamentally different in that they do not have early cognitive delays. The cause of autism and AS has not been established, nor has the reason for the startling rise in autism cases. Studies have shown that there is a greatly increased chance of having a second child with autism if the first sibling has it. In fact, the chances are about one in 15 that the second child will also have autism.
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Many parents of AS children have indicated the existence of undiagnosed relatives with similar traits. Other researchers suggest that toxins in the environment might be the culprit. Most likely, it could be a combination of both factors. Even though they are often very intelligent, and may even show exceptional talent in certain areas, their inability to understand common verbal and non-verbal cues is a major obstacle to fitting in. Unlike most autistic children, AS children want to have friends.
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They have a hard time reading voice tones. They have a hard time reading facial expressions.
So that complicates the picture a lot, too. There is no cure for AS. There are, however, many interventions and behavior modifications that can yield positive results. Currently, the treatments include:. Here are a few basic steps a parent can take to ensure the best possible educational experience for an AS child:.