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Mom Of Son With Asperger’s Syndrome: “Armchair Diagnoses Aren’t Helping Anyone”

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Mom Of Son With Asperger's Syndrome: "Armchair Diagnoses Aren't Helping Anyone"

“After Elliot Rodger murdered six young men and women in Isla Vista, California, word spread that he had been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. Asperger’s is a developmental disorder that was also linked to mass murderer Adam Lanza. Did Rodger’s alleged high-functioning autism spectrum disorder lead him to go on a murderous rampage? No. And even making it part of the conversation is harmful and stigmatizing to those with autism. …

We’re not living in a world with an epidemic of killers with autism. We are living in a world where social awkwardness associated with Asperger’s syndrome leads to kids being bullying and isolated. I’ve spent 7 years seeking therapies for my son. From occupational therapy to social skills groups, these specialized therapies will help him develop meaningful interactions with peers and get through school. I’ve met wonderful kids and young adults with autism of various degrees of severity. Every child with autism is just as unique as you or I. These kids aren’t defined by their diagnoses any more than you’re defined by your physical appearance. When I tell you my son has Asperger’s syndrome, I want you to know that it makes him focused, quirky, driven and different. I want to explain that he sees a world you and I will never see. What I don’t want is for you to make a knee-jerk correlation to two deeply disturbed individuals. I don’t want you to see a ticking time bomb when you look at my third grader.”

I’ve noticed an alarming trend in the reaction to Elliot Rodger’s murder of six people in Isla Vista, California, on Friday — pointing to him allegedly having Asperger’s syndrome (which has yet to be backed up with a confirmed diagnosis) as if it somehow explains his actions and/or negates the views he expressed in his 140-page “manifesto.” That’s why I urge you to read what Maria Mora, whose son has autism, has to say over at SheKnows about why this focus is not only ignorant and harmful, but a distraction from the real issues. [She Knows]

10 Things Your Autistic Friend Wants You To Know

Hello, I’m Gwen Kansen and I have Asperger’s Syndrome.

I repeat myself a lot. If a room is crowded I try to get out immediately. It takes me longer than most people to do pretty much everything because I make slow transitions. But I’m fun at dive bars. I used to manage a vintage clothing store. You might not notice I’m weird right away.

Chances are you know a few people on the spectrum. We may not tell you because autism isn’t the sexiest mental problem out there, especially when compared to more easily romanticized mental illnesses like bipolar disorder. Here are few things you should know about us autistic folks: Keep reading »

Susan Boyle Has Asperger’s Syndrome

  • Susan Boyle revealed she has Asperger’s syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism. The Scottish singer became famous on “Britain’s Got Talent” in 2009 and received her diagnosis only last year. As a child, she had been told by doctors that she was brain damaged, although she never believed it. [Guardian UK]
  • LaToya Jackson married her longtime friend and business partner, Jeffre Phillips. Mazel tov!  [US Weekly]
  • Leighton Meester is joining the cast of “Of Mice And Men” on Broadway. The revival is starring James Franco and Chris O’Dowd. [Variety]
  • After getting trashed by some people (but not everyone!) for her performance in “The Sound of Music Live,” Carrie Underwood is praying for the “mean people” who “need Jesus.” [Eonline] Keep reading »

“The Amazing Race” Welcomes A Contestant With Asperger’s Syndrome

On the Sunday premiere of “The Amazing Race,” Zev Glassenberg, a 26-year-old with Asperger’s syndrome, will become the latest reality show contestant to openly acknowledge having the disorder. We think this is very cool, but we have to ask: Why does Asperger’s get so much play in the media? First, there was Heather on cycle 9 of “America’s Next Top Model,” who rocked her socially-awkward-but-totally-hot self into a spot in the final four. Then Hugh Dancy sexed up the disorder in the super sweet movie, “Adam.” Now Jodi Picoult, the author of “My Sister’s Keeper,” is releasing a new book about a teen with a flair for forensics and an Asperger’s diagnosis. Is Asperger’s the telegenic end of the autism spectrum? While awareness is very important and while we all need to understand that it doesn’t mean a person is disabled but is differently-abled, maybe we’re ready to see some other psychological disorders in pop culture. Can we see more people with Tourette’s on TV? Or some savants? I’m really only half joking here. Keep reading »

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