What is Asperger’s Syndrome?
Asperger’s syndrome, also called Asperger’s disorder, is a type of pervasive developmental disorder (PDD). PDDs are a group of conditions that involve delays in the development of many basic skills, most notably the ability to socialize with others, to communicate, and to use imagination. There is a spectrum within the PDD disorders.
Many individuals with Asperger’s (often referred to as Aspies) exhibit serious deficiencies in social and communication skills. Their IQs are typically in the normal to very superior range. They are usually educated in the mainstream, but many require special education services.
They desire to fit in socially and have friends, but have a great deal of difficulty making effective social connections and are frequently a target for bullying and teasing. Many of them are at risk for developing mood disorders, such as anxiety or depression, especially in adolescence.
Although with the May 2013 publication of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual Asperger’s is now technically considered under the heading of Autism Spectrum Disorder, many people with Asperger’s prefer their separate diagnosis.
Asperger’s Syndrome Resources
The Asperger/Autism Network (AANE, http://www.aane.org) was one of the first Asperger’s syndrome organizations in the U.S.. It was founded in 1996 as the Asperger’s Association of New England by a small group of concerned parents and professionals, shortly after the diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome (AS) first appeared in the U.S. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (edition IV). AANE’s mission is now to build a national support community by providing education, information and referrals to individuals with AS, their extended families, and the professionals who assist them.
The Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support Center (OASIS, www.aspergersyndrome.org) has joined with MAAP Services for Autism and Asperger Syndrome to create a single resource for families, individuals, and medical professionals who deal with the challenges of Asperger’s syndrome, autism, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder/Not Otherwise Specified (PDD/NOS).
The US Autism & Asperger Association (www.usautism.org) is a non-profit organization that boasts a network of world-renowned professionals with expertise in autism, Asperger’s and other related disorders. The association hosts a world conference in the U.S. each year, establishes standards for training related to autism and Asperger’s, and aligns with local community resources to offer support for the entire autism and Asperger’s communities.
The Asperger Syndrome Training & Employment Partnership (ASTEP, http://asperger-employment.org/assistance-for-individual/) promotes the employment of individuals with Asperger’s and similar autism spectrum profiles through awareness and training campaigns aimed at Fortune 1000 companies; establishing relationships between support programs for adults with Asperger’s and national employers; and developing corporate partners to implement integrated employment programs for adults with Asperger’s. While the organization does not provide support services to individuals looking for work opportunities, its website lists online resources and programs to assist on the job hunt.
The Global Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership (www.grasp.org) sponsors support groups all over the country, with special emphasis on New York.
Aspiritech (www.aspiritech.org) is a non-profit organization headquartered in Chicago. Started in 2007 by the parents of an adult son with Asperger’s who had been fired from his part-time job bagging groceries, the organization has as its mission providing a path for high-functioning individuals on the autism spectrum to realize their potential through gainful employment. It does this by leveraging the unique talents of Aspies – attention to detail, superlative technical aptitude, ability to thrive in a highly repetitive task-driven work environment – and aligning those talents to the needs of the business community. Specifically, the organization provides competitively-priced testing services to client software development organizations. Its major services include functional, compatibility and regression testing, as well as test case development.
My Asperger’s Child (www.myaspergerschild.com/) is an organization whose goal is to provide help in the form of education and counseling for the parents of children with Asperger’s and high-functioning autism
The American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD, https://aadmd.org/ ) provides a forum for healthcare professionals who provide clinical care to people with neurodevelopmental disorders and intellectual disabilities. The AADMD is resolved to assist in reforming healthcare for those with neurodevelopmental disorders, prepare clinicians to face the unique challenges in caring for those with a neurodevelopmental or intellectual disorder, and to establish alliances between visionary advocacy and healthcare organizations for the purpose of achieving better healthcare.