In celebration of World Autism Day (April 2nd), Dr Peter Gardner, one of the country's leading specialists on the subject and, co-founder of Appleford School is hoping to draw attention to the needs of a particular subgroup of autism, namely children with Asperger's Syndrome. He explains:
“Children and young people with Asperger's usually have significant difficulties in socialising with others and making friends. They also like to have routines, even if the routines do not appear to most people to be useful. They can have very restricted interests and can have a difficulty with language development.
Their apparent 'oddness' can lead to teasing, social isolation and possible mental health problems.
Most professionals agree that early diagnosis offers the best outcome. The most appropriate treatment is a package of measures - depending on the needs of the child - which includes training in social skills, social communication intervention and therapy to reduce the number of obsessive interests.
However, perhaps we should as a society, instead of labelling the difference, celebrate the diversity of human talents and ways of being. In the world of maths, computing, engineering, cataloguing and science there is great value in a precise eye for details which many people with Asperger's have.
For parents of children with Asperger's the choice of school is all important. Many children with Asperger's are educated in mainstream schools. A smaller number attend specialist schools. Whatever school is chosen by parents, it will need to celebrate diversity, to have an inclusion policy which is genuine rather than illusory and which meets the child's special needs in an holistic and caring way.”
Dr Peter Gardner has written a free and simple factsheet on Asperger's which can be downloaded from the
Appleford School website http://www.appleford.wilts.sch.uk/ or you can write to Asperger’s Simplified Factsheet, , Shrewton, Wiltshire SP3 4HL. Appleford School
Dr Peter Gardner
Chartered Psychologist, British Psychological Society
Registered Pysychotherapist (U.K.C.P.)
, Shrewton, Wiltshire http://www.appleford.wilts.sch.uk/ Appleford School