HELP FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH ASPERGER'S & HIGH-FUNCTIONING AUTISM

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The Myths About Aspergers

The mysterious nature of Aspergers (high functioning autism) has led to a number of misconceptions about this syndrome as well as the individuals who have it. Overall, it has been a very misunderstood disorder, especially when it comes to distinguishing it from lower levels of autism. 

A lot of people talk about Aspergers and compare it to autism. But this is not completely accurate. Those with Aspergers are not as impaired as a person with autism. Because of this, they are able to go to college, balance a checkbook, drive a car and function pretty normally. In many cases, it's just somebody who's socially awkward. Even this awkwardness can be misconstrued as "acting out".

One misconception is that they are intentionally acting weird for attention, which is not the case. A lot of attributions are made about their behaviors that are negative, because people just don't understand.

Just as there are many misconceptions about those who actually have Aspergers, recent attention of the disorder has also led to misdiagnoses of those who do not have the syndrome. It is very misdiagnosed, and a lot of people without Aspergers get a diagnosis of Aspergers. Somebody might be really socially weird -- for example, really into 'Star Trek' or dragons. This does not mean that they have Aspergers. The point is that you can't really just make that generalization.

Aspergers, a higher functioning autism spectrum disorder, is very misunderstood by the general population. Here are 12 common myths regarding the condition and the children who have it:

1. MYTH: All Aspergers children are nerds, or all nerds are Aspergers children…

Fact: Many Aspergers children have interests that can be considered nerdy, but not everyone who considers themselves “nerds” has Aspergers.

2. MYTH: All children with Aspergers want to be cured…

Fact: Many Aspergers children are against finding a cure, as their Aspergers traits are an integral part of who they are.

3. MYTH: Aspergers is a disease…

Fact: Aspergers is simply a neurological difference.

4. MYTH: Aspergers is caused by vaccines…

Fact: The theory that vaccinations cause autism and Aspergers has been disproved by a number of studies. It is now thought to be caused by genetics.

5. MYTH: Aspergers is just an excuse to not be a part of society and it doesn’t actually exist…

Fact: Most Aspergers children desperately want to be part of society – they just don’t know how to do it.

6. MYTH: Aspergers adults cannot form romantic relationships…

Fact: Though many Aspergers adults have trouble initiating romantic relationships and may have difficulty knowing what to do in a relationship, Aspergers adults can and do date, get married, and have children just like everyone else. It is important for these individuals to find a partner who is able to be understanding of their condition and the idiosyncrasies that come with it. It is also important for them to make an effort to see things from their neurotypical partner’s perspective.

7. MYTH: Everyone with Aspergers is a genius…

Fact: Some children with Aspergers are geniuses, some are of average intelligence. Many are in the “above average” range, however.

8. MYTH: Life is more difficult for Aspergers males than females…

Fact: Females have a different set of challenges than males, such as being more likely to be taken advantage of by neurotypical males.

9. MYTH: Only children can have Aspergers…

Fact: Though adults are able to develop better ways of coping and blending in with society, it is a lifelong condition. Many Aspergers adults have trouble getting a formal diagnosis, as it wasn’t included in the DSM until 1994.

10. MYTH: Only males can have Aspergers...

Fact: There are many females with the condition, though many females remain undiagnosed for a variety of reasons, including the fact that girls are better at blending in, and that some AS traits are seen as more socially acceptable in girls.

11. MYTH: Children with Aspergers have no empathy for others…

Fact: Though Aspergers children may have trouble showing empathy, most do have the ability to care about other human beings.

12. MYTH: Children with Aspergers are mentally retarded…

Fact: To be diagnosed with Aspergers, an individual must have at least normal intelligence.


The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook

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