Living with Asperger's Syndrome
Albert Einstein, Bela Bartok, Alan Turing, Bill Gates, Thomas Jefferson and I. Is this a list of Geniuses? People who have changed history?
Or are these people who display the symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome? Dr. Tony Attwood, the world-renowned Australian psychologist who is an expert on Asperger's Syndrome, cited them as examples of people with Asperger's during a Conference held at the Palisades Center in Rockland, New York, in October of 1999. Dr. Attwood is a practicing clinical psychologist at MacGregor Specialist Center in Australia, with twenty-five years of experience in the field of Asperger's Syndrome.
I had the opportunity to join over 200 other participants at the day-long Asperger's Conference. Participants came from as far away as Africa to assist with organizational tasks and to listen to Dr. Attwood's presentation, as well as his answers to questions from the audience. Dr. Attwood, who has worked with Asperger's patients and lectured around the world, commented, "I have always been impressed by their patience and ingenuity in achieving abilities others acquire without a second thought."
Where does the name Asperger's Syndrome come from? Over fifty years ago, a Viennese pediatrician, Hans Asperger, published the first study of youngsters, mostly boys, with a common pattern of abilities and behaviors: lack of empathy, little ability to form friendships, one-sided conversations, intense absorption in a special interest (obsession) and clumsy, repetitive movements. For nearly fifty years, Dr. Asperger's work was largely ignored. Until the 1990s, "Parents and teachers often noticed the unusual behaviors of certain children, but had no idea why they behaved as they did," writes Dr. Attwood in his book Asperger's Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals.
What is Asperger's Syndrome? Asperger's is a...