Saturday, July 7, 2012

What is Aspergers?

Trurth be told, I have so many questions about what Aspergers really is that I am bit overwhelemd. I understand the basics but what I do not understand is what this means for my Aspie boy in his future. The unknown is really scary sometimes, this would be one of the times.  With that being said I have decided to dive in and gather as much information as I can about Aspergers.

First the Criteria for Aspergers:

DSM IV Diagnosis:

Diagnostic Criteria for 299.80 Asperger's Disorder

[The following is from Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM IV]
(I) Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:
    (A) marked impairments in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body posture, and gestures to regulate social interaction
    (B) failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
    (C) a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interest or achievements with other people, (e.g.. by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people)
    (D) lack of social or emotional reciprocity
(II) Restricted repetitive & stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:
    (A) encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus
    (B) apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals
    (C) stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g. hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)
    (D) persistent preoccupation with parts of objects

(III) The disturbance causes clinically significant impairments in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

(IV) There is no clinically significant general delay in language (E.G. single words used by age 2 years, communicative phrases used by age 3 years)

(V) There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self help skills, adaptive behavior (other than in social interaction) and curiosity about the environment in childhood.

(VI) Criteria are not met for another specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder or Schizophrenia."

* As the psychiatrist was going over this with me, and told me that my child only needed to fit in some of these catagories, she reaveled and I agreed that he fits in every single one.  Looking at my child you would not know that anything different was going on in his head, but those who have spent a great deal of time with him will agree that our little guy fits exactly in the above diagnosis.

Our little guy was also diagnosed with sever anxiety and depression, this is very common in children with Aspergers. He was started on some medications yesterday to help with these issues but the fact is, this will likely be something that he will struggle with for the rest of his life. My sister and I cried about this yesterday, we both suffer from anxiety disorders and know how difficult it can be at times, to know that my son/ her nephew will experience it is very emotionally challenging to accept. However, I trust in God that He has a plan that right now we may just not be able to understand.

I received a email yesterday form his pediatrican, who by the way is the best doctor I have EVER had the pleasure of having in my childrens life. She was able to skip over a 6 month wait to get us in with the Pysch and then called me several times after the appointment to see how we were all doing. Anyway, she emailed me over a list of resources that I am checking into, books, websites, and support groups. We also were informed that our Aspie boy will qualify for special assistance through the Federal government if he so needs it.

Finally, I just want to clear something up. Please do not pity my son or our family. We do not need it, we are proud of our son, proud of his Aspergers and feel incredible blessed that God has the faith that we as a family can and will make it through this and even more that we will embrace it. The sadness will not help anything and really what is there to be sad about? My child is special but then again he, just like my daughter will always be special :)

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