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profoundly yours the abledbody blog

There is an excellent opinion piece in the February 9 edition of The New York Times arguing against my position that Asperger’s syndrome, or AS, should be placed outside the autism spectrum. Here’s my take, based on my experience writing about autism and having a family member with the disorder. Long considered a high-functioning form of autism, Asperger’s is characterized by having difficulty interacting socially, repeating behaviors, and delayed motor functioning. However, Asperger’s has until recently maintained a separate diagnosis from autism, a complex neuro-developmental disorder defined by impaired social interaction and other behaviors. Beginning with the publication of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V) in May 2013, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has recommended a redrafted diagnosis to include both labels. The new criteria require that the symptoms begin in early childhood, deficits be measured in social interaction and communication, and there are repetitive behaviors ... keep reading »
I doubt I’m alone in saying I need another tearjerker, disease-of-the-week movie like, well, a hole in the head. Good thing HBO’s recent biopic, Temple Grandin, is no such thing. Sweet, studied, and poignant, Temple Grandin isn’t about overcoming a handicap, but instead it shows us how to look at the world differently and succeed. The movie’s protagonist, Temple Grandin, is a graduate student who has Asperger’s syndrome, a complex neuro-developmental disorder defined by impaired social interaction and other behaviors. Symptoms of Asperger’s and autism can include thinking of the world in a highly visual way (Grandin herself likens it to Google Images), which lends itself particularly well to the silver screen. In fact, the diagnosis has recently been re-classified as part of the autism spectrum disorder. Were this just a tale of one woman just overcoming a diagnosis, I’d probably start to reach for the remote. However, ... keep reading »
For students with learning disabilities, applying to college is a daunting task. An article in the New York Times’ blog, The Choice, reports on a Nacac conference, “Supporting the Transition to College for Students with Learning Disabilities,” where educators tried to answer some of the nettlesome questions for high school counselors trying to guide students with disabilities — including dyslexia, ADHD and Asperger Syndrome — toward supportive colleges where they might thrive. While the Nacac conference was geared to high school counselors and college admissions officers, there was plenty of useful material for parents, too: * The Association on Higher Education and Disability found that just 28 percent of students with learning disabilities graduate. And only 25 percent of students with disabilities take advantage of the services available to them on campus. * Catherine Axe, the director of Disability Support Services at Brown University, said that it was illegal for colleges to ... keep reading »
Last night I saw the opening of Adam at the Angelika Film Center in New York. This movie gives a raw and amusing look into the peculiar life of a 29-year old man with Asperger’s syndrome who falls in love. Adam (Hugh Dancy) has never been outside of New York City. Both his parents are dead. He eats cereal for breakfast, goes to work, then comes home and eats dinner, to give you a sense of how he craves routine. When he meets his next-door neighbor Beth (Rose Bryne), sparks fly, but not in the way you’d expect. Because of his Asperger’s, Adam lacks the requisite social skills to recognize charm and other innuendo that usually accompanies flirting; a light touch on the arm, an extra-long glance, an opening to ask her out — all fall flat. Instead, Adam shows Beth his home-spun planetarium, set against the backdrop of his shower curtain. As ... keep reading »

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