I am often asked about ‘label’s’ and ‘diagnoses’. Usually, I am asked certain questions not unlike the following: Why get a diagnosis/label? How will a ‘label’ help me or my child?
First, the diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome is valuable information, for the school involved, the individual, their parents, family members and friends. In terms of the individual, knowledge and education helps the individual in terms of self-understanding, which is imperative. Most, if not all individuals on the Spectrum are aware that they are different from their peers from very early on and wonder why or what is different/wrong with them. Many individuals erroneously come to their own conclusions, usually unhelpful or untrue conclusions of themselves. In terms of school or University, it is important in terms of the guidance the person may need in some of the social and interpersonal aspects of his of her school life. This can be very important for those in their teen years.
Second, it is also important in terms of the individuals unique profile of abilities, strengths and weaknesses. Generally speaking, individuals with Asperger Syndrome are usually high average to genius intelligence and tend to (not always) have a profile of peaks and troughs in their sub-test scatter scores on intelligence tests, often with working memory and/or processing speed being their weakest abilities (even if only a relative weakness ( i.e. average). Many individuals have a significant split between their Verbal Reasoning and Perceptual Reasoning abilities, with their Full Scale Score unable to be interpreted.
Third, it is important for a child to be on an Individualized Program Plan (IEP) or an adult to have academic accommodations in place in the school years and/or University. Strategies to support individuals with learning difficulties, learning differences, fine and/or gross motor difficulties, sensory issues, time management, social overload and exhaustion, organization, and planning are crucial for success.
Lastly, early intervention provides intervention, support and prevention of further issues that may have occurred in the teenage years. Interventions generally are provided, but not limited to the following areas: Theory of Mind and perspective taking, social and friendship skills, anger and anxiety/OCD management, emotion regulation, self-esteem and identity issues, depression and/or suicidal ideation, strengths and weaknesses profiling, sensory processing profiling and creation of a sensory coping kit, career counselling, strengths, gifts and talents profiling. Hopefully family members would learn to connect with each other and have more understanding, once they learn about Asperger Syndrome.
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