Autism Spectrum Disorders and School

I came across an article in the US News & World report health section today that caught my eye. They were discussing a study published in Psychiatric Services last month (August 2011). The research looked at the use of mental health services by adolescents with an autism spectrum disorder. They were looking at data from a longitudinal study that covered a 10 year period, and discovered that about half of those who received mental health services received them at school. Obviously school plays an important role in the lives of those with autism spectrum disorders. Normally these students would be … Continue reading

Connecting Anti-depressants and Autism

You likely heard about the belief that immunizations cause Autism, and if you looked into it at all you would know that the study has been de-bunked and there is no proven connection between the two. While there are still many believers, most scientists have moved on to discover what exactly causes Autism. The general agreement in the scientific community is that there are genetics at play, but since science has been unable to account for a specific genetic factor, they are also searching for environmental links to Autism that may help answer some questions. I personally find the quest … Continue reading

Adults with Asperger’s: Boundary Problems

Because people who suffer from Asperger’s disorder have difficulty is reading other people’s body language and even understanding the more subtle aspects of normal human verbal communication, adults with the condition can experience an array of interpersonal problems. Mainly though, it is the people who interact with adult Asperger’s who have the problem, rather than the sufferer themselves. This is because they are often either not aware of the hurt and trouble they are causing, or more commonly, they will not listen to significant others who tell them that their behavior is inappropriate. Let’s look at the case of Alison. … Continue reading

Autism: Any Closer to a Cause?

Autism is known as a pervasive developmental disorder. The term pervasive suggests that the effects of the disorder will significantly affect the individual throughout the course of their lifetime. Autistic disorder is characterized by significant impairment in social interactions and communication and by a restricted pattern of behaviors, interests and activities. Autism varies in intensity between individuals such that, in the best case scenario, individual programs during early intervention schemes should be designed for each child’s abilities and strengths. We have previously discussed the diagnostic specifications for a diagnosis of autism (see links below) but what is less known among … Continue reading

Asperger’s or not Asperger’s?

We’ve all heard of common mental conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and mood disorders. We may also have knowledge of less mainstream disorders such as body dysmorphic disorder, borderline personality disorder and Tourette’s syndrome. Yet there are many other conditions that affect humans that do not fall into such clear- cut categories but which nevertheless are indicative of problems in the sufferer. We discussed one such case in the article on Munchausen’s by Proxy. Many more strange and puzzling afflictions affect the general population and today’s blog describes one of them. It involves the diagnosis of … Continue reading

Coping with an adult with Asperger’s (4)

In the final blog in this present series on Asperger’s Disorder, we look at further behavioral markers as well as treatment options for this condition. Being partnered to an Asperger’s sufferer comes with its own set of marital difficulties. Of primary concern is the lack of intimacy and reciprocation of emotion. This is the most common reason for marriage breakdown associated with this disorder. As discussed previously in Coping with an adult Asperger (1), (2) and (3), this neurological disorder makes it extremely difficult for the sufferer to interact emotionally in an appropriate way with others. In a marriage situation, … Continue reading

Coping with an adult with Asperger’s (3)

In this third blog on living with a person with Asperger’s, (see Coping with an adult with Asperger’s (1) and (2), we look at further behavioral patterns of the sufferer and ways families and friends can better deal with difficulties encountered in everyday interactions with individuals with the condition. Asperger’s Disorder makes for difficulties in understanding the emotions of others as well as interpreting subtle communication skills, as transmitted through eye contact, facial expressions, and body language. This often leads to the person with this disorder being labeled as rude, uncaring, cold, and unfeeling. While it is natural for those … Continue reading

Coping with an adult with Asperger’s (2)

As we saw in Coping with an adult with Asperger’s (1), dealing with a person with this condition can be extremely difficult at times, particularly when the person has yet to be diagnosed with the disorder. When diagnosis of the adult Asperger occurs, it is often as a result of a child or grandchild being assessed with the disorder. It then becomes apparent to other family members that the undiagnosed adult they have struggled for so long to understand or relate to also possesses the disorder. When an adult is diagnosed with Asperger’s as a result of a child within … Continue reading

Coping with an adult with Asperger’s (1)

As we discussed in What is Asperger’s Disorder and Adults with Asperger’s Disorder, this condition is a lifelong developmental disorder and mainly manifests in the inability to successfully relate emotionally to others during everyday interactions. There exists a lack of awareness in interpreting social cues; a skill that most of us take for granted. Given that inability, it can be extremely difficult for the family and friends of an Asperger to cope with many of the behavior patterns typically exhibited. As Asperger’s Disorder is a relatively recently classified disorder, (see Adults with Asperger’s Disorder), an adult’s diagnosis with the disorder … Continue reading

Adults with Asperger’s Disorder

In What is Asperger’s Disorder? we looked at an overview of this condition which forms one of the autistic spectrum disorders, a developmental disorder that influences how the brain processes information, particularly in the area of social cues. Much of the available literature on Asperger’s deals with the diagnosis and treatment of children with the disorder. Similar material can often be difficult to find on adult sufferers. This is largely due to the fact that the DSM-IV criteria for the diagnosis of Asperger’s is of relatively recent origin. The disorder was only distinguished as a condition in its own right … Continue reading