Thursday, May 20, 2010

Aspergers.. An interesting challenge!

Its been raining children this Summer!
And boy! I am enjoying every bit of it. Most people are blessed with a child once or twice in their lifetime but I am blessed with one every day :-) sometimes even more :-) And such exceptional ones!!

Last week I met two children with a diagnosis of Aspergers. Since they live very far I have extended a home program for remedial but I wish I would have got a chance to work with them.

In the last couple of years, however, Ive got an opportunity to briefly work with a couple of children diagnosed with Aspergers.It was an interesting experience.. I also watched "My name is Khan" the movie. I think the movie has helped to bring about some awareness in the public of this condition. I thorughly enjoyed the movie as much as I enjoyed working with the children.

I have attached below a brief writeup of what Aspergers is.. However I have seen children with Dyslexia also having some if not all of these traits but they are 'ok' on the social interaction front... But I ve worked with children with a diagnosis of Autism/Aspergers using a remedial program that focusses on imprving perception. There seems to be a reat deal of improvement in the areas of hyper sensitivity, social interaction, speech clarity and sitting tolerance.
Since all these conditions have so much overlap, the labels that we come up with after an intial assessment must be dealt with a lot of caution..

Ive seen so many changes over a period of 2-6 months in children that the intial diagnosis seems to be just a pointer and not the final truth!

Ok for those of you who want to know more ...

What is Aspergers Syndrome?

Asperger’s Syndrome was named after Dr Hans Asperger, a Viennese paediatrician who described it in a 1944 paper. It remained mostly unknown to the English speaking world, until it was picked up by Lorna Wing in an influential review and series of case reports in 1981. “Asperger’s Syndrome” was made “official” in 1994 when it was included in the DSM manual used by psychologists to classify mental conditions.

Current thinking places Asperger’s Syndrome on the “autistic spectrum”. It is believed that individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome tend to have an IQ ranging from average to genius, and there is much speculation that the likes of Albert Einstein and many other philosophers, scientists and genius musicians had Asperger’s Syndrome.
The main characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome are often (but not always) a deep focus on a specialist subject or area, a difficulty in understanding human interactions and human social codes (almost like being an alien trying to understand a strange species) and a difficulty with changing environments which need to be learned and adjusted to.

People with Asperger’s Syndrome tend to have a normal to high intelligence, often coupled with a special skill or ability (e.g. extraordinary mathematical or linguistic abilities).

In addition, people with Asperger’s Syndrome are sometimes hypersensitive to stimuli such as light, noise and pain, and their motor skills may be less developed than the norm (e.g. they tend to play less sports).
Many of them are partially face-blind (have a problem remembering faces). They have to invest a lot of energy in understanding interactions and would often need to consciously plan their social behaviour in advance, including when they walk down a busy pedestrian road, and have to avoid running into people.

That intuition – the innate ability to translate human body-language and non-verbal cues is simply not there for them. People with Asperger Syndrome often describe their experience as that of “being on the wrong planet”. They have to learn how humans interact and simulate it. It isn’t a natural trait for them as it is for everyone else.

Asperger’s Syndrome is characterised by a neuro-biological difference from the norm, which means Aspergians process information differently. This is an important point to understand. Asperger’s Syndrome is not a mental illness or a disorder: it is simply a neurological variation from the norm. It is inherited genetically and very often will run in families.

Sourced and adapted from the Asprgia website: An alternative, positive, and sometimes comic view of Asperger’s


  1. Chetana, I stumbled upon your blog while searching for any kind of help available for Asperger kids here in Bangalore. I have a child who is 9 years old and is an Aspie. I am looking for any help I can get for improving his social skills and making friends at school. I am thinking of getting into a group of parents whose have Aspie kids and who are looking for some play dates for their kids. I feel this should go a long way in helping the kids as they so desperately want to make friends but are so poor at it. Are you aware of any such groups?

    Thank you very much for any help you can offer.


  2. Hi Nagraj

    There are several parents who are on the India Developmental Disabilities Group on Yahoo. Set up a proposal... Im sure many will respond.


Aurinko Academy Pilot