This Saturday the 18th of February, 2012 is International Asperger Day.
Happy 106th birthday Dr Hans Asperger for Saturday.
International Asperger Day is a day to celebrate the good doctor’s birthday and to increase awareness of Asperger Syndrome.
So here goes.
Dr Hans Asperger was an Austrian paediatrician who in 1944 described the key features of Asperger Syndrome. The syndrome has more recently been classified as belonging on the Autism Spectrum and can be found sitting near or sometimes on top of High Functioning Autism.
My 11 year old son has High Functioning Autism but his behaviours are indistinguishable from someone with Asperger Syndrome. The key difference lies in the fact that he did not develop speech typically (could not communicate effectively) by the age of three. A historical differentiation which is essentially not important in the grand scheme of things.
Features of Asperger Syndrome include intelligence within the normal range and a profile that includes some or all of the following characteristics:
‘A qualitative impairment in social interaction:
* Failure to develop friendships that are appropriate to the child’s developmental level.
* Impaired use of non-verbal behaviour such as eye gaze, facial expression and body language to regulate a social interaction.
* Lack of social and emotional reciprocity and empathy.
* Impaired ability to identify social cues and conventions.
A qualitative impairment in subtle communication skills:
* Fluent speech but difficulties with conversation skills and a tendency to be pedantic, have an unusual prosody and to make a literal interpretation.
* The development of special interests that is unusual in their intensity and focus.
* Preference for routine and consistency.
The disorder can also include motor clumsiness and problems with handwriting and being hypersensitive to specific auditory and tactile experiences. There can also be problems with organisational and time management skills and explaining thoughts and ideas using speech.’
The above extract is from Dr Tony Attwood’s website which can be found here.
Dr Attwood is the author of ‘The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome’ which is widely considered the ‘bible’ of texts on the subject. If you can only afford one book on Asperger’s Syndrome, this is the one to buy.
If you’d rather surf the net, his website is the one to go to for all the information and links you could ask for on the subject. I and many others think Tony Attwood is the bees knees in this business. He lives and works in Brisbane, Queensland too! 🙂
Tony considers that people with Asperger Syndrome have a ‘different, not defective, way of thinking’.
Further information can also be found at Asperger Services Australia
They are holding the Asperger Services Australia 2nd National Conference on the same weekend.
Note: this is a repost from last year with the dates changed of course 😉
16 thoughts on “International Asperger Day 2012”
Thanks for the information Gabrielle. I have always found information on Asperger Syndrome very interesting.
Thanks Helen – it is a fascinating area 🙂
Tony Attwood ‘s book looks like a worthwhile read, Gabe
I use it like a reference book rather than reading from cover to cover – just look up what I need at the time – it’s very comprehensive 🙂 We bought the book after seeing Tony at a conference when it was launched and he signed the book for Michael!
Thanks for the enlightenment. One has mistaken ideas regarding autism – expecting that it always simply relates to people who are completely cut off from external influences. It must be a challenge to understand and respond to the alternative ways of thinking.
It’s been a long learning process colonialist that never really ends as each developmental stage has different issues. My son doesn’t stand out too much from the other kids.
So eloquently said. Thank you for being such a strong advocate for the Asperger community. Your emails of info & stories shared from home, have resonated with many of my ASD contacts.
Thanks Jane – that means a lot to me 🙂
‘Different, not defective way of thinking…’ Word. It is good to see awareness being raised. Thanks for all the info!
Thanks Selma 🙂
Well, that’s a coincidence, Gabrielle: I’m right in the middle of Tony Attwood’s book right this minute. Great piece of work- and one which has made me think very carefully about girls and Asperger’s. There are far more boys than girls diagnosed. My daughter has all the features of someone with Asperger’s, but has coping mechanisms which mask the fact she is different. A consummate mimic, her peers perceive her as different, but her teachers see her as disorganised yet compliant, and so do not raise her as a concern. The girls with Asperger’s are a hidden faction.
Thanks for this post, and happy birthday Dr Hans 🙂
That is a coincidence Kate. Tony has been doing a lot of research on girls and women with aspergers in the last few years and he thinks it is under diagnosed in females because of the ability of females to ‘act’ neurotypical and to not play up in the classroom. He thinks the ratio of boys to girls is probably more like 2:1. I was listening to a podcast (an interview of Tony Attwood on ABC radio that goes for an hour) yesterday and he talks a lot about females with aspergers – it is such a great interview (I learned a lot) – you can listen to it if you want:
Podcast link: http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2012/02/02/3421377.htm
My daughter has some aspie qualities so I am interested in that area as well; and I know they present differently from males and generally are under the radar.
Oooh, thanks Gabrielle! I’ll go and listen!