Unwrapping The Mysteries Of Asperger's

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Overview

Woven around her first person experiences and scholarly references, is insight on many of the questions and concerns females with AS surely experience at some point in their life...lovely time spent with a friend...a teaching tool for women and their supporters...a read everyone can enjoy on a number of levels. - from the foreword

Kristi Hubbard gives summaries of over a decade of intensive research on autism spectrum conditions. She offers insight, advice, encouragement, ...

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Unwrapping The Mysteries Of Asperger's: The Search for Truth and Discovery of Solutions - Guide For Girls and Women with Asperger's Syndrome

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Overview

Woven around her first person experiences and scholarly references, is insight on many of the questions and concerns females with AS surely experience at some point in their life...lovely time spent with a friend...a teaching tool for women and their supporters...a read everyone can enjoy on a number of levels. - from the foreword

Kristi Hubbard gives summaries of over a decade of intensive research on autism spectrum conditions. She offers insight, advice, encouragement, understanding, solutions and suggestions for girls and women with Asperger's. She found out she had Asperger's Syndrome when she was in graduate school and shares her challenging experiences growing up and in adulthood. She offers insight with her experiences helping children who have autism, and sets forth her search for the truth of what Asperger's really is, where it came from and the discovery of methods to have a happy, joyful and successful life. She also offers insight for caregivers, teachers and any other professional or family member to better understand and help girls with Asperger's.

Read this book to learn:

· Sex differences in Asperger's

· Early signs detecting Asperger's

· Insight on more than 21 Asperger's traits

· How to overcome sensory issues

· How to overcome social difficulties

· Tips on making friends and keeping them

· Solutions on more than 26 common life issues

· Methods to have a happier family life living with Asperger's

· Better understanding of the meaning and purpose in life

· Numerous helpful resources for those with Asperger's

· How to prevent or decrease the chances of your child from developing Autism

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781449094881
  • Publisher: AuthorHouse
  • Publication date: 4/1/2010
  • Pages: 324
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Unwrapping The Mysteries Of Asperger's

The Search for Truth and Discovery of Solutions - Guide For Girls and Women with Asperger's Syndrome
By Kristi Hubbard

AuthorHouse

Copyright © 2010 Kristi Hubbard
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4490-9489-8


Chapter One

What really is Asperger's, and How is it Similar to Autism?

"We each have our own way of living in the world, together we are like a symphony. Some are the melody, some are the rhythm, and some are the harmony. It all blends together, we are like a symphony, and each part is crucial. We all contribute to the song of life." ... Sondra Williams

There has been difficulty of where to classify the name "Asperger's Syndrome." The word "Asperger's" can mean many different things to different people. Currently, most experts agree that Asperger's is a part of the autism spectrum because of the many similar characteristics. Some experts perceive it to be the same as "high functioning autism," while others think of it as a step above high functioning autism. Some see it to be a completely different condition than autism. A group of researchers from Yale University suggest that the neuropsychological profiles of children with high functioning autism are different than those with Asperger's syndrome and intervention strategies should be of a different nature (Klin, Volkmar, Sparrow, Cicchetti & Rourke 1995). However, research from other scientists have not identified specific profiles showing that the two groups are different from each other based on neuropsychological testing although there is the difference that Asperger's having a higher IQ due to higher verbal abilities (Manjiviona & Prior 1999). In Dr. Tony Attwood's (2003) paper, "Is There a Difference Between Asperger's Syndrome and High Functioning Autism?," Attwood concludes that research and clinical experience suggest there is no clear evidence they are different because there are more similarities than differences. Some professionals use the terms "high functioning autism" and "Asperger's" interchangeably while others believe there are differences between the terms "autism" and "Asperger's." According to the DSMV-IV, autism and Asperger's are two different conditions but they are both considered pervasive developmental disorders.

Although many of the characteristics are the same in Asperger's and autism, the severity and number of the characteristics are much more in autism than Asperger's. Other main differences between autism and Asperger's, is that there typically is not a language delay in people with Asperger's or a delay in the development of self help skills. People with Asperger's tend to be more aware of the social world and give effort to fit in but find it difficult. Most people with Asperger's can live a fairly typical life, go to college, get married and have children but some people with severe autism may not be able to live on their own. Children with autism are typically diagnosed between the ages of 18 months to three years old. Most children with Asperger's syndrome are diagnosed later in their childhood or adulthood, with an average age of 11 years old (Howlin and Asgharian 1999).

It is not practical to give a good single definition of Asperger's because people with it have different characteristics with a different level of severity. People express and respond to their characteristics differently based on gender, personality, temperament, birth order, number and gender of siblings, environment and family structure. For thorough understanding of what Asperger's really is, I am going to describe how it became, what it is and who has it. I am also going to summarize and comment on some of the top experts descriptions and list the most common characteristics. It is very important to keep in mind that not all people with Asperger's have all the characteristics while the characteristics individuals experience range from mild to severe.

Asperger's: Where did the name come from, what is it and who has it?

The name "Asperger's" came from a man named Hans Asperger from Austria. In 1944 he published a paper from an investigation of more than 400 children who portrayed certain behaviors that deviated from typical. In 1994, Asperger's syndrome became part of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. About the same time in 1943 Leo Kanner, who was a child psychologist in Boston, recognized an unusual pattern of behavior in many children he saw and named the condition 'early infantile autism.' Autism had been added to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual in 1952. The term "autism" means to "escape from reality."

Most people with Asperger's appear as different to typical people. People who have Asperger's will admit that they find the rules of social behavior difficult and that they know they are different from others. However, the social difficulties are only a problem in a social environment where everyone is expected to act social. Most of them try really hard to fit in and may claim they are pretending to be like everybody else. They may have feelings that they don't fit in but don't know why. They may have difficulty understanding sarcasm and tend to interpret conversations literally. They express different social characteristics and have logical ways of thinking and a unique perception. They have difficulty understanding small talk and may not participate in "chit chat." They may have less concern for personal hygiene and clothing styles- preferring to dress comfortably rather than stylish. People with Asperger's may be perceived as disrespectful and rude with little awareness of hurting other people's feelings and have limited nonverbal communication. As they mature, they become aware of their inability to understand social cues, develop a fear of making a social mistake, and they may begin to fear social situations. They may not understand or "read between the lines" when people are hinting and would much rather be told directly what to do. People with Asperger's tend to process social information slower than typical people and may become exhausted with the incredible effort needed to process social information. Many people with Asperger's have high IQ's. People with Asperger's syndrome can be taught, or these individuals can figure out on their own, to decode social cues intellectually, rather than instinctively. Because some people cannot verbalize what they understand instinctively, this can be frustrating (Harmon, 20032009; online Dictionaries and Encyclopedias).

Well-known people that have been thought to have Asperger's are Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Napoleon Bonaparte, George Washington, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson, Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, Teddy Roosevelt, William Taft, Harry Truman, Catherine the Great, Lous IV, Cleopatra, Wilhem II, Alexander the Great, Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, Beethoven, Elvis, Jeremy Bentham, Socrates, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Robin Williams, Tom Hanks, Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Virginia Wolf, Shakespeare, Goethe, Isaac Asimov and Charles Dickinson (Fattig, 2007). Other people thought to have Asperger's syndrome are Al Gore, Andy Kaufman, Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan, Carl Jung, Mark Twain, Michael Jackson, Mozart, Nikola Tesla, Thomas Jefferson, Vincent Van Gogh and Woody Allen (Duncan, 2009).

Expert's description of Asperger's

Dr. Tony Attwood, who is a clinical psychologist working with people on the autism spectrum for over 30 years, gives his perspective:

"From my clinical experience I consider that children and adults with Asperger's Syndrome have a different, not defective, way of thinking. The person usually has a strong desire to seek knowledge, truth and perfection with a different set of priorities than would be expected with other people. There is also a different perception of situations and sensory experiences. The overriding priority may be to solve a problem rather than satisfy the social or emotional needs of others. The person values being creative rather than co-operative. The person with Asperger's syndrome may perceive errors that are not apparent to others, giving considerable attention to detail, rather than noticing the "big picture." The person is usually renowned for being direct, speaking their mind and being honest and determined and having a strong sense of social justice. The person may actively seek and enjoy solitude, be a loyal friend and have a distinct sense of humor. However, the person with Asperger's Syndrome can have difficulty with the management and expression of emotions. Children and adults with Asperger's syndrome may have levels of anxiety, sadness or anger that indicate a secondary mood disorder. There may also be problems expressing the degree of love and affection expected by others. Fortunately, we now have successful psychological treatment programs to help manage and express emotions."

Simon Baron-Cohen, director of the Autism Research Center at the University of Cambridege, has summarized Asperger's Syndrome in 10 characteristics: finding social situations confusing, viewing small talk as difficult, disliking imaginative story-writing at school, ability to efficiently pick up details and facts, finding it difficult to work out what other people are thinking and feeling, ability to focus on certain things for very long periods, are rude even when they didn't intend to be, have unusually strong and narrow interests, do certain things in an inflexible, repetitive way and have always had difficulty making friends. Baron-Cohen implies that teachers should be educated about Asperger's syndrome and for society to recognize and appreciate the difference (Health Care Industry, 2001).

Wendy Lawson (2003), a writer and a woman with Asperger's, states that people with Asperger's have the characteristic of monotropism, unlike those individuals who possess polytropism. Monotropism is only being able to focus on one thing at a time. This can be difficult when it comes to socializing in groups, but it can be positive in terms of concentrating on one thing at a time. Polytropism is being able to tend to several things at once, such as being able to make multiple connections using the combination of visual, auditory and spatial senses.

Liane Holliday Willey's (1999) perspective form her book Pretending to Be Normal:

"Like other people, those with Asperger's are often creative, intelligent, interesting, productive and learned in countless ways. They are often kind, warm, gracious, loving, funny and enjoyable. And like everyone, AS people have their share of hardship, their share of disappointment and dismay. It can be harrowing to see life through surreal lenses that warp and tangle and convolute the most simplest of activities, that neurologically typical consider ordinary, things like shopping, driving, studying, keeping a job, paying bills and visiting friends ...

No matter the hardships, I do not wish for a cure to Asperger's Syndrome. What I wish for, is a cure for the common ill that pervades too many lives; the ill that makes people compare themselves to a normal that is measured in terms of perfect and absolute standards, most of which are impossible for anyone to reach ..."

Liane Holliday Willey (2001) in Asperger Syndrome in the Family encourages a focus on the good characteristics of a person with Asperger's. She says "It doesn't overshadow the fact that there are real issues aspies must learn to deal with, but at the same time, it nudges one to figure out that AS is not the end." Her list "Twenty First-Rate Ways to Describe Aspies:

"Aspies Are: very loyal, open and honest, guardians of those less able, detail oriented, uninterested in social politics, often witty and entertaining, capable of developing very strong splinter skills, storage banks for facts and figures, tenacious researchers and thinkers, logical, enthusiastic about their passionate interests, able to create beautiful images in their mind's eye, finely tuned in to their sensory systems, ethical and principled, dependable, good at word games and word play, inquisitive, rule followers, unambiguous, average to above average in intelligence."

Dr. John Ortiz (2004), founder of the Asperger Syndrome Institute, has a very interesting view of the conditions on the autism spectrum. He states in his article, "The Spectrum of Distraction: Autism, OCD, Asperger's and ADD," that all four of these conditions are the same illness but contracted at different ages, and the age of onset will determine what will distract the person. Therefore, response to the symptoms reveal the age of the onset of the illness and that the symptoms are also a "compulsive" replay of what was at one time a typical response to human life. Ortiz defines autism to be "a social impairment, wherein a person suffers from a pervasive category of socially disconnecting distractions." The principle symptom is the "the profound inability to connect to socially normal people" and the principle behavior is "compulsively focusing on things other than personal relationships at the expense of personal relationships." He states that using this definition, all four of the conditions are a variety of autism, and all people suffer some degree of autism. Dr. Ortiz believes that if people can see the autistic traits in themselves, they can better help the more severely autistic.

Discussion

I feel it important to comment on Dr. Ortiz's perspective on the "age of onset." I have worked with children who have experienced the onset of autistic symptoms at different ages. One little boy I worked using techniques of behavior analysis was six years old when he had been diagnosed with ODD (obsessive defiant disorder) and PDD (pervasive developmental disorder) and later received a diagnosis of Asperger's at the age of eight. His mom reported to me that the boy's father has characteristics of Asperger's, and she, in fear of her son developing autism, delayed her son's vaccines until he was five years old. According to his mom, shortly after his third routine of vaccines, the boy began to hallucinate. He developed difficulty with controlling his impulsive behavior with sudden bursts of tantrums, and he began to slip into his own world, fixating on objects. Other children I have worked with have parents reporting similar stories about "a regression and sudden change in my child's behavior." Some parents report a gradual change in their child's behavior and development.

I, myself, began experiencing major changes in thinking, feeling and perception shortly after receiving a measles vaccine when I was 10 years old. Although I had experienced mild characteristics of Asperger's before age 10, I began experiencing a higher number of characteristics with much more severity. It is likely that if I had been exposed to that same environmental toxic insult, with my immune system the way it was, at a much earlier age, I may have developed autism. I wonder if there is a difference between an original "Asperger's," such as those who have a genius IQ and have difficulty relating to people of average intelligence because of their high intellect and the type of Asperger's that may have been induced from an environmental insult. Perhaps they are both the same, only manifested in different ways. Of course, research would need to be done to examine this.

When I hear a child has autism, I don't have a clear picture of how that particular child is considering the diversity in individuals. So I have to ask questions and do a developmental assessment to get a better understanding of where the child is on the spectrum. How old is the child? Is the child verbal? If so, how much? Can the child understand language? If so, how much? Does the child make eye contact? How much time does the child engage in self-stimulation behaviors? What self-stimulation behaviors does the child engage in? What does the child eat? Does the child speak to peers? How much? Can the child read? Does the child comprehend what he/she reads? To what extent? What is the child good at? What are the child's primary interests? Does the child have trouble paying attention to things outside his/her interest? How well does the child display joint attention? On what level does the child solve math problems or problem solve? Does the child learn better by hearing, seeing, doing or a combination? Does the child have special areas of strength such as problem solving, hyperlexia, memorizing, numbers or musical talent? What sensory problems does the child have? Does the child have siblings, and if so, what ages? Does the child have medical problems such as frequent ear infections, rashes or yeast? Does the child's parents have any medical issues? And a very important question to ask is "Is the child a boy or a girl?" Girls on the spectrum tend to manifest their characteristics in different ways than boys. Of course, this should be expected. Boys and girls are different.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Unwrapping The Mysteries Of Asperger's by Kristi Hubbard Copyright © 2010 by Kristi Hubbard. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Dedication....................vii
Foreword....................ix
Introduction....................xiii
What really is Asperger's, and How is it Similar to Autism?....................1
Girls vs Boys with Asperger's....................21
Clues From Early Childhood....................47
School Career as a Professional Student....................65
The Real World, College and Autism....................99
Learning How to Effectively Participate in a Family....................111
Perception, Thinking, Recognizing Patterns and More....................127
Overcoming Sensory Issues and Social Difficulties....................159
The Search for Purpose and Absolute Truth....................187
Solutions for Girls and Women....................207
Insight for Caregivers and Teachers....................249
Understanding and preventing autism....................259
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2011

    Editorial mistakes galore, but good book

    I don't see how this one made it to publishing... maybe the hardcover version is different, but the e-book is plagued with so many spelling, grammatical, and other syntactical errors that it made it difficult for someone like me - who (due to my Aspergers) is fine-tuned to these types of errors. It was very distracting and made it hard for me to focus... but I persevered, and I am glad that I did. It's a very good book, and I found myself being able to relate to SO much of what the author revealed in her own stories and observations. Despite the editorial flaws, this one is a must-read, especially for adult women who are on the spectrum!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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