Born into Aspergers

Alix Generous

I want to address the difference between “in spite of” and “because of”. One of the greatest equalizers that spans across all barriers of humanity is that we individually cannot choose when we are born and when we die. I was born a sensitive and socially honest soul into a superficial and insincere social environment.

Alix Generous Screen Shot 2014-06-27 at 11.10.58 PM
If I was born in a world where people constantly strive for self-improvement, valued relationships rather than objects, and looked for acceptance over status, I think I would have been just fine. The kind who prefers the former bullied me to think I’m crazy but I don’t think I am. So if I take this perspective, I did succeed in spite of these kinds of environments.

I knew from a young age that I wanted to help people.

Meet Grant: The Jigsaw Giraffe!

a heartfelt story that resonates with anyone who feels different, but not less.

“Grant the Jigsaw Giraffe ~ Different is More!”, written by Julie Coy Manier and illustrated by her son with Asperger’s, Grant Manier, is about a young giraffe who is born with jigsaw pieces instead of spots, but follows his passion to paint despite his challenges. “Grant the Jigsaw Giraffe” is a heartfelt story that resonates with anyone who feels different, but not less.

A new baby giraffe is born at the city zoo. Grant, the baby giraffe looks like a giraffe, but he’s different. His spots are not spots at all, instead he has jigsaw puzzle pieces. He looks different, he acts differently, and he has some physical challenges. But, Grant doesn’t let his differences stand in the way; he has big dreams!

Grant the Jigsaw Giraffe wants to be a talented paintbrush artist, but how will he hold a paintbrush with hooves? Grant is initially discouraged by the idea that he may never become an artist and paint colorful masterpieces. Then, he sets off on a journey through the zoo with his trusted friend, Ms. Judy, to explore the world around him in hope of finding his talent.

Follow Grant’s journey and get ready to be amazed by what different minds can do.

Understanding Crisis Behavior in People with Aspergers

Some individuals with Aspergers or HFA may engage in crisis behavior that interferes with their learning, puts themselves or others at risk, prevents them from participating in various activities, or impedes the development of relationships. Crisis behavior can range in severity from low productivity to meltdowns that involve aggression, self-injury, or property destruction.

Stressed teen girl screaming, shouting

Many individuals unfamiliar with Aspergers may believe these types of behaviors are intentional and malicious. However, it has become well known that problem behaviors often serve a function for the individual engaging in the behaviors. Additionally, deficits in the areas characterized by Aspergers may impact behavior.

Star opens up about son’s Aspergers Syndrome

We are re-posting a portion of a Disability Scoop interview with  ‘Covert Affairs’ Star Christopher Gorham whose son has Aspergers Syndrome. This Hollywood actor has been in such TV programs as  Ugly Betty, Popular, Odyssey 5, Jake 2.0, Medical Investigation, Out of Practice, Harper’s Island and Covert Affairs. Gorham is currently working on his next project “Justice League: Throne of Atlantis,” where he provides the voice of the Flash.

Disability Scoop: Personally speaking, your son was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome not too long ago. What was that like?

Christopher Gorham: We got a diagnosis fairly late. He was 9-years-old, which is kind of the blessing and the curse of that diagnosis. Because he’s very high functioning we didn’t really know that something was off until later. It’s upsetting to hear that something is wrong with your child. At the same time, it’s a relief to know what’s wrong with your child because if you know what’s wrong then you can start to take steps to help them.

Disability Scoop: When did you first notice that something might not be right?

 (Photo: Courtesy of Robert Ascroft/USA Network)

(Photo: Courtesy of Robert Ascroft/USA Network)

Christopher Gorham: Second grade was when we really knew we needed to start investigating and finding help. What we were doing didn’t seem to be working and things were getting worse and he was just getting further and further away from his peers. (He was) not understanding the subtleties of socializing, not getting sarcasm, not understanding the difference between someone who’s really being nice to you and someone who’s actually making fun of you, not understanding that all attention isn’t positive. It’s really hard for a parent when your son comes home and tells you that his best friends are the two or three kids who are actually the meanest to him.

Disability Scoop: How has this new diagnosis changed your family’s day-to-day life?

Christopher Gorham: You get the diagnosis and then instead of just taking the kids to Taekwondo after school, now suddenly you’ve got occupational therapy and you’ve got speech therapy and you’ve got the psychologist and you’ve got the behavioral specialist. Your week is filled with therapies to help support him and it becomes so hard to find the balance.

Disability Scoop: How do you manage it all while shooting the show?

9 Types of Adversities and How Aspies Can Grow with Them

Too frequently, Aspies face highly adverse circumstances. On top of the necessary challenges that they must embrace, Aspies face many unnecessary challenges that threaten to offset the balance in their lives. Many of these challenges result from in-home or in-school adversities during childhood.

These harsh experiences sow toxic seeds that later become poisonous. However, every aspie has at least some control of their lifestyle and significant control over how they interpret and develop from such circumstances. Of course, even adults require aid along the way as they walk on the path to prosperity. Here are some examples of difficult early life situations for people with Aspergers, and how to resolve them:

Beware of the Martyr Complex

Taking Care of the Care-Giver : An Aspergers101 Exclusive Series

Taking care of yourself is a must when you are a care-giver or more specifically a guardian of a child with special needs. 

Dr. Ghia Edwards, Psy.D.

“We have to give out of the overflow versus an empty tank. When we give out of our overflow, we are built up enough to give healthy help and joy. When we let our tank go down, it is like a car that begins to knock because the sediment on the bottom of the tank, is ruining the smooth running of the car. In these situations the car doesn’t run well, much like us when we do not have positive healthy, nourishing self care. We can only give out that which we have, we must center on the Spirit, Soul, Mind and Body”. – Dr. Ghia Edwards, Psy.D. 

We welcome our Aspergers101 readers to a series dedicated to you, the care-giver. Pause and re-fresh as Dr. Ghia Edwards takes us into the first of a series of four blogs aimed specifically to you. Note: You might especially enjoy the added audio portion inserted into the text below!

“We cannot help anyone if we are not helping ourselves first”, we have all heard this before but what does this actually mean and how do we put it into practice. The Inner Workings of a Healthy Helper. Spirit, Soul, Mind and Body health keep the caregiver from running into the weeds. It’s like they say when you are flying, “In the event of an emergency apply your own mask first, then help others around you”. It’s quite a simple practice, so WHY oh why do we not implement it in our lives, we’ll I have theory.
When we are caregiving we are getting a payoff of some sort. If it’s just knowing that we are doing the correct thing for those we are caring for but with that comes being needed. Being needed is seductive, it is alluring, it feels great to know you are valuable but it can be just a step away from being a martyr. Beware of the martyr complex!  It’s subtle but in my line of work I have seen this over and over again and perhaps even participated in the behavior myself. Yes I am a recovering over doer aka martyr.
Here are some solutions to help us NOT become a martyr.

My Son with Aspergers: Through the Eyes of a Father

I am the father of a son with Aspergers Syndrome and through the years of my wife and I raising him, it has had many challenges for me.  As a father I wanted him to take interest in outdoor activities, sports and other things that we could do together but while he was not interested in these things there were other items of interest that I had to adapt to in order to spend the most amount of quality time with him.

My Son: Through the eyes of a Father

While he may not have had interest in what I thought a young boy, now a man, “should” be interested in, he has opened my eyes to a different world that has brought us closer together over the years. I just had to be the one to approach his interests with an open mind and with the idea that these were things we could do as a father and son.

Asperger Syndrome – An Overview

Asperger Syndrome is one of several previously separate subtypes of autism that were folded into the single diagnosis autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with the publication of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual in 2013.

Spectrum, Autism, Aspergers

The following behaviors are often associated with Asperger Syndrome. However, they are seldom all present in any one individual and vary widely in degree:

  • limited or inappropriate social interactions
  • “robotic” or repetitive speech
  • challenges with nonverbal communication (gestures, facial    expression, etc.) coupled with average to above average verbal skills
  • tendency to discuss self rather than others