Aspies Rock

Aspies Rock

Aspie’s Rock

People with Asperger Syndrome often call themselves aspies.

Aspies mostly call people who are not on the autism spectrum – neurotypicals. I nearly choked on my Weet-Bix when I heard that expression for the first time ;).

There is a theory (promulgated by aspies I should think) that people with Asperger’s Syndrome are higher up the evolutionary ladder than the rest of us. I don’t know about the scientific basis for that theory  🙂 but there are certainly many wonderful things about aspies.

Including the following:

Lateral thinkers (the inventors of the world)
Loyal
Enthusiastic
Focused
Genuinely goodhearted
Inventive
Original
Reliable
Unique sense of humour
Persistent (they will solve the problems of the world)
Determined (they will keep going when others give up)
Creative (some have outstanding artistic, musical and other talents)
Great attention to detail and can spot mistakes others may not notice (make great editors)
Super senses (wine connoisseurs and perfume makers of the world )
Strong sense of social justice (make good policemen, judges)
Direct, honest and speak their mind
Strive for perfection
Can list large amounts of factual information
Strong desire to seek knowledge (great on game shows and trivia nights)
Extremely knowledgeable on topics of interest (the trainspotters, collectors of the world)
Visual thinkers (make great surveyors, architects and engineers)
Exceptional long-term memory
Logical thinkers (the computer programmers of the world)
Great desire for fairness
Great respect for rules
Dedicated to special interests (many aspies reach the top of their chosen career because of their single minded dedication to an area of interest)

Unique

Endless potential

and the list goes on …

I know and love quite a few aspies and I think they rock!

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Note: This is a celebration of International Asperger Day 2012

Aspie’s Rock

Aspie’s Rock

Photograph by Tessa Bryden

Aspie’s Rock

People with Asperger’s Syndrome often call themselves aspies.

Aspies mostly call people who are not on the autism spectrum – neurotypicals. I nearly choked on my Weet-Bix when I heard that expression for the first time – haha.

There is a theory (promulgated by aspies I should think) that people with Asperger’s Syndrome are higher up the evolutionary ladder than the rest of us. I don’t know about the scientific basis for that theory  🙂  but there are certainly many wonderful things about aspies.

These may include some of the following:

Lateral thinkers (the inventors of the world)
Loyal
Enthusiastic
Focused
Genuinely goodhearted
Inventive
Original
Reliable
Unique sense of humour
Persistent (they will solve the problems of the world)
Determined (they will keep going when others give up)
Creative (some have outstanding artistic, musical and other talents)
Great attention to detail and can spot mistakes others may not notice (make great editors)
Super senses (wine connoisseurs and perfume makers of the world )
Strong sense of social justice (make good policemen, judges)
Direct, honest and speak their mind
Strive for perfection
Can list large amounts of factual information
Strong desire to seek knowledge (great on game shows and trivia nights)
Extremely knowledgeable on topics of interest (the trainspotters, collectors of the world)
Visual thinkers (make great surveyors, architects and engineers)
Exceptional long-term memory
Logical thinkers (the computer programmers of the world)
Great desire for fairness
Great respect for rules
Dedicated to special interests (many aspies reach the top of their chosen career because of their single minded dedication to an area of interest)

Unique

Endless potential

and the list goes on …

I know and love quite a few aspies and I think they rock!

__________________________________________

Written for this Friday’s celebration of International Asperger’s Day 2011

International Asperger’s Day 2011

International Asperger’s Day 2011

This Friday the 18th of February, 2011 is International Asperger’s Day.

Happy 105th birthday Dr Hans Asperger for Friday. I’m getting in early as I’d like to do a couple more posts on Asperger’s in the next few days.

International Asperger’s Day is a day to celebrate the good doctor’s birthday and to increase awareness of Asperger’s Syndrome. So here goes.

Dr Hans Asperger was an Austrian paediatrician who in 1944 described the key features of Asperger’s 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 10 year old son has high functioning autism but his behaviours are indistinguishable from someone with Aspergers 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’s 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.

Restrictive Interests:
* 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’s Syndrome have a ‘different, not defective, way of thinking’.

I agree.

Further support and information can be found through the volunteer, not-for-profit, organisation Asperger’s Services Australia.

Hidden Curriculum: The Autism Files

Hidden Curriculum: The Autism Files

Hidden Curriculum: The Autism Files

We live in a world full of unwritten social rules that most people just seem to intuitively understand, without direct instruction. We generally know what behaviour is expected of us in different situations and we have a good idea of the consequences of violating these social rules and behavioural expectations.

The number of rules is huge and varies across cultures, but here are some examples:

  • take turns speaking in a conversation;
  • don’t swear or tell off-coloured jokes to your teacher;
  • don’t tell someone their new outfit makes them look fat;
  • don’t stand too close to strangers,
  • don’t stare at strangers on public transport;
  • don’t hug someone you have just met;
  • follow your bosses instructions, even if you think he is an idiot and you have a better way of doing things.

These rules and expectations make up the hidden curriculum.

People with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often have great difficulty with social interactions and in deciphering the hidden curriculum. Having ASD is like being a traveller in a country with a different language and customs – it is easy to put your foot in it and offend the locals.

Individuals on the spectrum, including those with Asperger’s, often unwittingly break social and behavioural rules and they suffer the consequences. They can appear rude, arrogant, and deliberately disrespectful.

Not understanding the hidden curriculum can result in difficulty making and maintaining friendships. They may become social outcasts and the target for bullies. Their safety, self esteem and ability to concentrate and learn at school may be compromised. They can become anxious and fatigued as a result of hyper-vigilance in a hostile environment.

They not only break social rules but are often unable to interpret the subtle signs and non-verbal cues (body language) emanating from the person they are offending.

For example, a person with Asperger’s may monologue at length on a topic of special interest, such as trains or the benefits of rubbish collection, and be totally unaware that the recipient’s body language is indicating total boredom (yawning, looking away) with the one-sided conversation. They will be surprised when the listener suddenly has quite enough and snaps at them to shut up. They will wonder what has gone wrong.

The person with ASD needs to explicitly discover the hidden curriculum through the help of therapists, teachers or books.

People who are involved with individuals on the spectrum need to be aware of these issues and to assist them in learning the rules for different situations. Direct instruction and the use of social stories and role playing activities can all be useful strategies. A book on understanding body language is also a great resource.

With help the individual with ASD can discover the hidden curriculum and develop skills to successfully navigate this social world we live in.