Aspergers Syndrome The Hidden Disorder by Mari Nosal

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This article is very valid. I am asperger’s, have always been a brainiac so was considered a bit different but normal. In 43 years, I have had few friends. I am married but other than my wife, I have had no real friends in decades. I want friends,but people do not get me. I reach out to people and ask them to help my non-profit but it is a struggle.  

I hear from people all the time, that I need to work on this or that socially, or to slow down, or simplify. It really annoys me at time, why should I have to change who I am for them, why can’t they expand their level of understanding. I am told your eye contact is bad,it has hurt me many times over the years in job interviews because I talk fast, and have poor eye contact. As LMFAO says sort of, I am autistic and I know it..

I really like Mari’s article and can relate in many regards.

Lately, I haven been observing comments regarding what Aspergers is, how it effects the lives and family of individuals living with this syndrome , their family, and individuals whom they have daily interaction with. My experiences and opinions conveyed in this article are not internet and research related. They are resultant from bringing up a son who lives with Aspergers daily.

Aspergers is not outgrown, nor curable. Individuals with Aspergers merely learn compensatory strategies as they grow and silently struggle daily with their difficulty communicating, working with, and living with the neurotypical population. Aspergerers is a neurological disorder which effects many aspects of their daily lives. Because they tend to have normal to above normal I.Q.s, society perceives them as merely quirky loners.

The old phrase, “One cannot tell a book by it”s cover” is an appropriate analogy here. Ican equate their issues with a cast. When one sees an individual with a cast, they know that individual has a broken bone. In regards TO Aspergers, these individuals look like functioning neurotypicals on the exterior. I will now explain that is not the case.

Aspergians have issues impairments with communication, appropriate behavior, and socialization, or assimilation in the neurotypical society if you will. Children with Asperger’s have excellent and advanced expressive language skills. (speaking to people) Aspergians have large vocabularies and are excellent at conveying data, information, what happened on a T.V. show, etc. i.e. factual information. They often have difficulty in reciprocal conversations.

Their difficulty conversing in social situations goes beyond a lack of interest. On the contraire, they silently wish that they could socialize better. I recall my son calling from college. He attempted to join groups because he wanted to fit in with other students. He attempted to join the Frisbee club, but impaired motor skills hampered that effort. He attempted to join in at parties but difficulties with reciprocal conversation squelched that effort.

My son called me at home making me aware of his efforts to fit in, have a girlfriend and more. He informed me of his efforts to make friends and socialize. My heart broke silently when he said, “Mom I try and try to fit in but it is not working, can you teach me?” I suggested he join the computer club and he responded by saying, I only like computers because I have nothing else. My computer is my only entertainment.

Aspergers creates havoc in terms of the individual’s ability to process information, strategize, and receive information. Hence, their difficulty with receptive language. (Processing and absorbing information) Reading body language and knowing how to respond when someone is sad, despondent, or distressed is difficult for Aspergians. I recall a gentleman telling me that he wished he new what to say or do when his wife was upset.

The man told me that it hurt him greatly because he wanted to say and do the right thing in such situations but did not know how.

Individuals with Aspergers are prone to sensory overload when presented with loud noises, strong odors, office environments where several conversations are going on simultaneously, and parties where background music is playing while people attempt to converse with them. It is not uncommon for Aspergians to have tertiary anxiety disorder which rear their ugly face in situations mentioned in the latter paragraph. Aspergers is a neurological condition.

On the surface they tend to be academic prodigiesin certain areas of academia. Hence their nickname as children of the little professor. In reference to language skills, many aspergians speak in a concrete format and upon further review in a reciprocal conversation their sentences may be out of context. Due to receptive processing language deficits, many individuals have difficulty with being given more than several steps through the auditory modality at one time.

It is a misnomer that Aspergians do not warrant speech therapy. On the contrary, speech therapy can assist children in honing expressive language skills i.e. using descriptors, expressing emotions verbally, describing an experience like a trip to the zoo in more than rote terminology. Speech therapy can also assist children with deficits in sequencing. An example of sequencing would be verbally summarizing a story in sequential order.

Aspergians tend to struggle with fine and gross motor skill impairment as well due to neurological impairment. Pincer grip issues can cause issues with difficulty in cutting with scissors, tying shoes, and other fine motor skill tasks. Tasks such as bowling with one hand, midline issues, riding a bike, and climbing trees can prove difficult as well. Hand grip is generally weak and hampers ability in hanging on to jungle gym rungs, etc. Hence they tend to be ostracized by their peers not only for their social deficits, but lack of athletic prowess as well. Thus, they may benefit from physical therapy.

Aspergians may commonly present with A.D.H.D., Non Verbal processing disorder, and other maladies. They may not appear to stim. Upon further observation however on will notice that many aspergians run their hands up and down a drinking cup, have feet or legs that are in constant motion, stretch arms bent at elbows while turning wrists, tap tables and feet, and whistle, to name a few. These may be used forms of mild stimming to release anxiety.

Aspergians tend to prefer simple foods void of mixed flavors when young. This is due to sensory overload from heightened taste buds. Simplified, a spaghetti sauce can put their taste buds into sensory overload. It is extremely common for Aspergians to have tactile sensitivities. As children, a scratchy tag or rough texture shirt can drive them to the point of sensory overload, which is resultant in an emotional meltdown. A rough shirt may feel like someone is scratching their back with fingernails.

Due to mind blindness and neurological delays in development that normally place them approximately four years behind their peers, children with Aspergers are prone to being bullied. Cognitive behavior therapy may be productive in assisting children with developing emotional skills.

Please attempt to understand these children. Do not minimize nor assume that they go on to lead independent fulfilling lives. Many of these children grow up to be underemployed due to inept social skills. A college degree does not guarantee a decent due to neurologically based social, and processing difficulties. Due to popular belief not every aspergian becomes an engineer or scientist. They are as diverse as you and I. In my sons case, he is advanced in English but struggles with math and he is an Aspergian.

The divorce rate is extremely high for Aspergians in relation to neurotypical couples. Some go through life having no romantic relationship or friends due to struggling with navigating the social maze. Without society’s assistance and a nationwide education program these children will not hone their wonderful talents.

Society owes these children AND adults a fighting chance. They cannot always control their behavior and depend on us (society) to equip them with the skills, guidance, and positive support network that they need to thrive as adults. Believe in children and they will believe in themselves.

In closing, I leave you with this food for thought. Not all disabilities are as apparent as a blind individual with a cane, an individual in a wheel chair, etc. Please attempt to look below the surface and understand. Thanks and stay well.

Mari Nosal M.Ed., CECE

 

David Berkowitz
Blogger, Youtuber, Nonprofit Founder to help autism via the arts, and sales guy.
David Berkowitz

technewszone

Blogger, Youtuber, Nonprofit Founder to help autism via the arts, and sales guy.

0 thoughts on “Aspergers Syndrome The Hidden Disorder by Mari Nosal

  • September 11, 2012 at 12:22 pm
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    Social skills are just that – SKILLS.  Sure, some people have more trouble learning social skills than others just like some people have more trouble learning music or computer skills than others, but it doesn’t make it impossible.  The whole aspergers label is nothing more than a confidence killer to restrain great people from doing great things.

    Besides, most of the issues people with aspergers deal with are issues that most MEN deal with. 

    Reply
  • September 11, 2012 at 9:11 am
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    Not all of us suffer with poor self esteem issues or self deprecation just because society around us says we fail as humans in some way (which logically highlights society being a failure at incorporating and accepting variants).  Yes, it’s lonely, but I’d personally rather ‘suffer’ this kind of loneliness than be in a warm fuzzy group of ignorance.  I’ve always thought being like this was cool.  It’s like having a secret doorway into knowing and understanding things that other people almost never even think of.  I would never wish to trade my abilities to understand science and tech and so much more just to get a few friends wanting to talk to me on a phone.  We all need to learn to appreciate the spectrum for the joys it can bring, instead of underlining the horrors and fails ‘normal’ people see in it.  I made it to 50, and thankfully I have a psychologist helping me with social interaction, but a lot of people all around us have all kinds of other challenges to deal with that are just as hard, and I feel that aspies have a unique way of problem solving that can help other people.  I believe in myself.  I think that is a crucial step for everyone, to believe in ourselves.  Corny, but very real.

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  • September 11, 2012 at 2:25 am
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    I think you did a good job writing this, but I WILL say that the one thing that bothered me about this post is that you wrote a lot of absolutes here. 

    We found out early on (in marriage) that my husband had aspergers, you can read about it here-
    http://lkjslain.xanga.com/733122044/living-with-someone-with-aspergers–/
    it was posted on here as as well – 
    http://fa8.029.myftpupload.com/733305373/living-with-my-husband-with-aspergers/

    The thing is that aspergers has a VARIETY of different “types” … While, a lot of what you said COULD apply, a lot of what you said could ALSO apply to someone who does NOT have aspergers and vise versa. 

    I was actually the person who discovered my husband’s condition due to the fact that I knew even from just knowing him a little that something was VERY off. We’ll be in social situations and I will be thinking, “What is wrong with him? You just do not say those things! O_O” (as I sat there horrified). He tends to talk to random strangers about anything and everything and nothing that they care about, and he tends to use LARGE words (Some of which he doesn’t even know how to correctly pronounce because he’s only ever read them) that no one else understands at all. 

    The one thing I’d say about this article is that like “normal” people, there are levels of autism, and it affects everyone differently. Not ALL asperger children have A, B, and C, and not ALL asperger children are even as high functioning as others…

    And interestingly, my husband IS an engineer.;) 

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  • September 10, 2012 at 5:00 pm
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    THANK YOU!!!!!!!! I think I have learned a secret about myself because of this. I will be sharing this with my Dr.

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  • September 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm
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    My dad has Asperger’s and it took a long time for me to come to terms with it (I’m 23 now). Kudos for writing this post 🙂

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  • September 9, 2012 at 10:45 am
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    My 18-year old sister has Asperger’s syndrome. I struggle a lot with understanding her and having a relationship with her… but I do hope the best for her and pray that she can use all of her INCREDIBLE talents with the world. Same for you!

    Reply
  • September 9, 2012 at 4:09 am
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    I have a few good friends with aspergers. Some are really nice guys… though some are kind of strange. I know people with the disorder that I get along well with. Others I really dont. Depends on how much we have in common I guess. =} One of my closest friends in College has aspergers. =} 

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  • September 9, 2012 at 12:57 am
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    I don’t have aspergers and that first paragraph could have easily fit to much of my life.

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  • September 9, 2012 at 12:45 am
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    I watched my best friend’s oldest son struggle from the time he was 11, and kept telling my friend to get him diagnosed but she refused saying henwas going through a phase. Now he is 24 and just diagnosed as a high functioning aspie…he has no contact with his mother and family….but he is in contact with me and glad I studdied about aspie and learned how to try and comunicate with him…..thank you for sharing this. I will pass this on to him so he can seenhe isn’t alone in bieng different and wanting to be accepted as he is.

    Reply
  • September 8, 2012 at 11:22 pm
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             this is so my 5 year old son and nobody undrstands him even family members they just think hes a misbehaved brat who throws a fit not understanding it is a melt down,I am learning and trying to speak out whenever I feel I have to speak up for his rights,being divorced even his father does not agree he says he will out grow whatever he has,I had to take dad to court 2 weeks ago to stop him from taking him on a cruise to mexico I know my son wonders,climbs anything,walks away to strangers and would have had a melt down due to the crowd and any loud bell or whistle would have set him off,and to top it off I was not going to chance him wondering off in Mexico I can not replace my son and I am his fulltime caretaker until dad understands he will not be taking him Thank God the judge agreed with me I have 4 1/2 yrs of ot therapy,home teachers,neuros reports and countless hours of my time learning how to care for him all because he looks perfect on the outside it is so sad how people only see the cover

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  • September 8, 2012 at 9:36 pm
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    Bravo! I can understand all of these things as well, except for the part of not needing speech therapy. As I am a person with classic high-functioning autism, I needed speech therapy. There ought to be more people like you.

    Reply

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