- Mental Health
Aspergers Among Us
I passed a note to my classmate. It said: “I just love geeky people; he is so sweet when he smiles at his own corny jokes.” The reply I received said: “He is an idiot; I am going to straighten him out after class.” I responded: “Our teacher? Oh, you mean that guy who blurts out the answers before you have a chance? Don’t do anything, he has “Aspergers” syndrome.” His anger toward this other young man gave me an uneasy feeling as I thought about my son’s struggles in school.
My son has Aspergers Syndrome. It was not diagnosed until he was 13 years old. Aspergers is also referred to as “High Functioning Autism,” or “HFA.” I did not know my son before he was ten. He came to me as a foster child. My son had been gravely injured at the hands of his father. His father was incarcerated as a result and much attention had been paid to this little boy due to his injury. There was no research performed on his behavior history, and much of his abnormal behavior was attributed to his abusive family life. Daniel had many problems in school. He could not finish a day without a physical fight with another student and was very disruptive in class with very odd behaviors. At a psychiatric evaluation before he was 11, he was affirmatively diagnosed with ADHD, and possibly obsessive compulsive disorder to be determined after he was medicated for his ADHD symptoms.
The response of my friend to this young man who clearly does not mean to offend alarmed me. It is time for the rest of the world to work a little harder to accept differences, to understand that not everyone is able to conform to standard forms of conduct. There are many gifted people who have made our world a better place, who can figure things out that most cannot, and are profoundly irritating.
Aspergers syndrome did not become an official diagnoses until 1984. Years passed before the diagnosis became common, and many experts have determined that well known figures of the past publicly demonstrated symptoms of Aspergers.