Fredericksburg Parent

April 2013

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sperger���s A IS FOR Living with asperger���s: Different, but NOT Disabled BY STEPHANIE FOSTER A ccording to autismspeaks. org, autism spectrum disorders are 10 times more prevalent now than they were 40 years ago. In part, this increase is because of greater knowledge and awareness. However, as more information appears, so do more questions. The term autism spectrum disorders (ASD) describes a wide range of delays and/or disabilities relating to brain development. An understanding of the differences in this range of developmental delays is important for increasing overall awareness. In the past 20 years, knowledge about Asperger���s disorder, a ���high-functioning��� form of autism, has increased dramatically. Yet there is still so much to learn. Whether you are touched personally by Asperger���s or another form of ASD or simply need to broaden your own knowledge, increasing awareness can help create a better future for everyone involved. 12 Fredericksburg Parent and Family ��� April 2013 asperger���s Disorder: Clinically speaking What is Asperger���s? What are differentiating traits? What is meant by ���high-functioning��� end of the spectrum with regard to Asperger���s? What do I need to look for as a parent? It is often easier to understand something when it is broken down into smaller terms and definitions. As parents, we may not want to imagine our child receiving such a diagnosis, but having some guidelines gives us a starting point. It is important to understand that, although there are common traits to Asperger���s and other forms of ASD, characteristics vary widely from person to person, and everyone is unique. There is no ���one size fits all��� description of Asperger���s or any other disability. From a clinical perspective, Asperger���s is often described as a high-functioning form of autism, meaning that ���Aspergians��� are relatively well-equipped to live, play, work, attend school, and learn self-care once proper and personally-tailored therapies and programs have been implemented. People with Asperger���s may exhibit some difficulties with social skills, empathy, motor skills, and understanding social cues, but they are often highly intelligent and gifted in specific areas such as writing or math. For example, in conversation, an individual with Asperger���s may not understand the cue to cease conversation, but what he or she may be relating to you could be accurate, memorized facts about a current fascination. This unique combination

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