Fainting at the Evil All Around

by Sharon Merhalski

While watching the news this morning I felt ‘faint’ from all of the negative and violent input. God brought this verse to my heart: Psalm 27:13 “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” Sometimes it isn’t easy for me to see the goodness of the Lord in the world around me.

After looking up the word “believed” in the Strong’s Concordance I realized seeing the goodness of the Lord is more than simply believing…it is my properly building up or supporting that belief with God’s Word; my fostering it as a parent or nurse; putting my trust in the LORD I believe. God reminded me that I have a part in my not fainting at the happenings of the world around me. But God…none of His children have to live in fear…or lives of “when in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.” Praise the Lord.

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Published in: on July 28, 2009 at 1:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Asperger’s Syndrome Links

Tony Attwood’s website www.tonyattwood.com.au
Autism Spectrum Australia (ASPECT) formerly NSW Autism Association www.aspect.org.au
Asperger’s Syndrome Partner Information Australia (ASPIA) Sydney NSW www.aspia.org.au
Autism & Aspergers Support Group Inc www.autismsupport.org.au
Families of Adults Afflicted with Asperger’s Syndrome www.faaas.org
Maxine Aston’s website www.maxineaston.co.uk
Aspires www.aspires-relationships.com
Hunter Asperger’s Family Support Group – Lorraine ClarkeEmail: lclarke@wnc.ngo.org.au

Published in: on July 20, 2009 at 12:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Asperger’s Families

“It is almost inevitable that the difficulties experienced with Asperger adults will have a negative effect on a couple or family relationships, particularly when individuals are unaware of AS. Problems such as poor communication, sexual concerns, misunderstandings, and a feeling of not being valued or understood frequently occur. These problems can impact both those individuals with AS and the people living with them.”

 

From: http://www.otherhalf.com.au/aspergers.htm

 

Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) is a Pervasive Developmental Disorder that falls within the autistic spectrum. It is a life-long condition which affects around 1 in 100 people, more commonly men than women. Those with AS are usually of average or above average intelligence, and have a distinct profile of abilities that have been apparent since early childhood. Although Hans Asperger first identified the condition over 50 years ago, it is only now increasing in public awareness.

The profile of abilities include: a lack of social and emotional reciprocity and empathy, failure to build friendships, impaired use of non-verbal behaviour (eye gaze and facial expression), difficulty with conversation skills, impaired imagination, intense absorption in a specialist interest, preference for routine and consistency and often problems with motor co-ordination (e.g. problems with handwriting). The disorder may also include a hypersensitivity to specific auditory and tactile experiences and problems with organisation and time management skills.

It is now known that individuals with AS may exhibit some or all of these characteristics to a greater or lesser degree. Tony Attwood, a Clinical Psychologist and specialist in this field, describes these individuals as having a “different but not defective way of thinking”. Moreover, they often have a strong desire to seek knowledge, learn and problem-solve. As individuals, they may value creativity over being co-operative or meeting the social or emotional needs of others. Children and adolescents with AS often get into trouble at school, exasperate teachers and are the subject of teasing and bullying. As a result, many tend to experience isolation, rejection and a lack of understanding of their everyday lives. This often results is frustration, anger, anxiety, depression and poor self-esteem.

It is almost inevitable that these difficulties will have a negative effect on a couple or family relationships, particularly when individuals are unaware of AS. Problems such as poor communication, sexual concerns, misunderstandings, and a feeling of not being valued or understood frequently occur. These problems can impact both those individuals with AS and the people living with them.

On a brighter note, individuals with AS desire to be part of the group and can often learn to encode social cues intellectually rather than instinctively. Likewise, parents, friends and partners can also learn to work with difference and enjoy the rewards that arise from sharing their lives with these unique individuals. Therapists who are cognisant of the implications of AS are able to provide effective coping strategies and can offer both partners and parents greater understanding of themselves and the other.

Published in: on July 20, 2009 at 12:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Asperger’s Syndrome Basics

by S. Michaels

We’ve had several responses to the blog posts concerning my learning to better live with my husband who has Asperger’s Syndrome.  After discussing the need for valid information concerning adults with A.S. we’ve decided to provide a section of information on this blog.  We welcome your input of information and comments.

The following information was very helpful to me during my quest for answers.  I hope it will also be a help to those who are also seeking for answers.  I highly recommend his web site for further information.  (Remember he spells Australian style.  J )

What is Asperger’s Syndrome?

–Tony Attwood  http://www.tonyattwood.com.au/

“From my clinical experience I consider that children and adults with Asperger’s Syndrome have a different, not defective, way of thinking.”

Dr Hans Asperger, an Austrian paediatrician, originally described Asperger’s Syndrome in 1944. The syndrome has more recently been classified as an autistic spectrum disorder. Children and adults with Asperger’s Syndrome have an intellectual capacity within the normal range, but have a distinct profile of abilities that has been apparent since early childhood. The profile of abilities includes the following characteristics:

*A qualitative impairment in social interaction:

  • Failure to develop friendships that are appropriate to the child’s developmental level.
  • Impaired use of non-verbal behaviour such as eye gaze, facial expression and body language to regulate a social interaction.
  • Lack of social and emotional reciprocity and empathy.
  • Impaired ability to identify social cues and conventions.

*A qualitative impairment in subtle communication skills:

  • Fluent speech but difficulties with conversation skills and a tendency to be pedantic, have an unusual prosody and to make a literal interpretation.

*Restrictive Interests:

  • The development of special interests that is unusual in their intensity and focus.
  • Preference for routine and consistency.

The disorder can also include motor clumsiness and problems with handwriting and being hypersensitive to specific auditory and tactile experiences. There can also be problems with organisational and time management skills and explaining thoughts and ideas using speech. The exact prevalence rates have yet to be determined, but research suggests that it may be as common as one in 250. The aetiology is probably due to factors that affect brain development and not due to emotional deprivation or other psychogenic factors.

The characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome described above are based on the diagnostic criteria and current research and have also been modified as a result of my extensive clinical experience. I would like to provide a personalised description of Asperger’s Syndrome that also incorporates the person’s qualities as well as their difficulties.

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 humour. 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.

Published in: on July 20, 2009 at 12:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Asperger’s Syndrome and Adults

This article is from Mental Health Matters, and describes Aspergers in adults.

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Asperger’s Syndrome in Adults

By Better Health Channel,

Government Organization
Better Health Channel, Victoria Austrailia

“A person with Asperger syndrome often has trouble understanding the emotions of other people, and the subtle messages that are sent by facial expression, eye contact and body language are often missed.
Research suggests that the divorce rate for people with Asperger syndrome is around 80 per cent.
Social training, which teaches how to behave in different social situations, is generally more helpful to a person with Asperger syndrome than counselling.”

Asperger syndrome and adults

Asperger syndrome is one of the autism spectrum disorders, and is classified as a developmental disorder that affects how the brain processes information. People with Asperger syndrome can show a wide range of behaviours and social skills, but common characteristics include difficulty in forming friendships, communication problems (such as an inability to listen or a tendency to take whatever is said to them literally), and an inability to understand social rules and body language.

There is no cure and no specific treatment. Asperger syndrome doesn’t improve, although experience helps to build up coping skills. Social training, which teaches how to behave in different social situations, is generally more helpful than counselling.

Typical adult symptoms

More males than females have Asperger syndrome. While every person who has the syndrome will experience different symptoms and severity of symptoms, some of the more common characteristics include:

  • Average or above average intelligence
  • Inability to think in abstract ways
  • Difficulties in empathising with others
  • Problems with understanding another person’s point of view
  • Hampered conversational ability
  • Problems with controlling feelings such as anger, depression and anxiety
  • Adherence to routines and schedules, and stress if expected routine is disrupted
  • Inability to manage appropriate social conduct
  • Specialised fields of interest or hobbies.

The emotions of other people

A person with Asperger syndrome may have trouble understanding the emotions of other people, and the subtle messages that are sent by facial expression, eye contact and body language are often missed. Because of this, a person with Asperger syndrome might be seen as egotistical, selfish or uncaring. These are unfair labels, because the affected person is neurologically unable to understand other people’s emotional states. They are usually shocked, upset and remorseful when told their actions were hurtful or inappropriate.

Sexual codes of conduct

Research into the sexual understanding of people with Asperger syndrome is in its infancy. Studies suggest that affected people are as interested in sex as anyone else, but many don’t have the social or empathetic skills to successfully manage adult relationships.

Delayed understanding is common; for example, a person with Asperger syndrome aged in their 20s typically has the sexual codes of conduct befitting a teenager. Even affected people who are high achieving and academically or vocationally successful have trouble negotiating the ‘hidden rules’ of courtship. Inappropriate sexual behaviour can result.

Being a partner and parent

Some affected people can maintain relationships and parent children, although there are challenges. Dutch research suggests that the divorce rate for people with Asperger syndrome is around 80 per cent.

A common marital problem is unfair distribution of responsibilities. For example, the partner of a person with Asperger syndrome may be used to doing everything in the relationship when it is just the two of them. However, the partner may need practical and emotional support once children come along, which the person with Asperger syndrome is ill equipped to provide. When the partner expresses frustration or becomes upset that they’re given no help of any kind, the person with Asperger syndrome is typically baffled. Tension in the relationship often makes their symptoms worse.

Common issues for partners

An adult’s diagnosis of Asperger syndrome often tends to follow their child’s diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. This ‘double whammy’ can be extremely distressing to the partner who has to cope simultaneously with both diagnoses. Counselling, or joining a support group where they can talk with other people who face the same challenges, can be helpful. Some common issues for partners include:

  • Feeling overly responsible for their partner.
  • Failure to have their own needs met by the relationship.
  • Lack of emotional support from family members and friends who don’t fully understand or appreciate the extra strains placed on a relationship by Asperger syndrome.
  • A sense of isolation, because the challenges of their relationship are different and not easily understood by others.
  • Frustration, since problems in the relationship don’t seem to improve despite great efforts.
  • Frequent wondering about whether or not to end the relationship.
  • Difficulties in accepting that their partner won’t recover from Asperger syndrome.
  • After accepting that their partner’s Asperger syndrome won’t get better, common emotions include guilt, despair and disappointment.

Things to remember

A person with Asperger syndrome often has trouble understanding the emotions of other people, and the subtle messages that are sent by facial expression, eye contact and body language are often missed.
Research suggests that the divorce rate for people with Asperger syndrome is around 80 per cent.
Social training, which teaches how to behave in different social situations, is generally more helpful to a person with Asperger syndrome than counselling.

Published in: on July 20, 2009 at 12:09 pm  Comments (1)  
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