By Peter Szatmari MD
Read Online or Download A Mind Apart: Understanding Children with Autism and Asperger Syndrome PDF
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Extra resources for A Mind Apart: Understanding Children with Autism and Asperger Syndrome
Compared to her brother, who had been quite colicky as a baby, Heather seemed to be too placid and quiet. Janice took Heather to the doctor when she turned one, because she was not yet communicating her wants and needs, but he shrugged off Janice’s concerns. When Heather’s speech did not improve, Janice persisted in telling the doctor that something was wrong, and eventually she was referred to a pediatrician who decided that Heather had a speech delay. That led to a referral for speech therapy at our hospital.
Heather had many special skills and talents that Heather 25 needed to be nurtured, not eliminated. At first, Janice was concerned that Heather would not fit in, would be different from the other kids at school and so end up isolated and rejected by them. Now she was learning that Heather saw things in a way that was of value to everyone. The patterns in the rug were beautiful when the light shone through the window. The bark was lovely as one moved around the tree. The diagnosis was not a defeat, a punishment for being a failure as a parent, but a different developmental pathway to be followed.
He asks me innocently. I suspect there must be a neurology of boredom; there must be a place or, more precisely, a set of neural circuits, in the brain where boredom is experienced. The function of that set of brain circuits must be altered in some subtle way in people with ASD so that they never tire of pure repetition. Justin sits across from me today as he has on and off for the last fifteen years. He twists his curly hair and blinks frequently. He has that fixed smile that never wavers even though we talk about both happy and sad things.