Myths about Asperger’s syndrome

This article is a translation from Danish of the article “Myter om Aspergers syndrom”, published  2013/2014 on the website of ”Socialstyrelsen”, the Danish Agency of Social Affairs, which is a part of the Danish Ministry of Social Affairs, from the link: http://socialstyrelsen.dk/handicap/autisme/om-autisme/om-aspergers-syndrom/myter-om-aspergers-syndrom

 

Myths about Asperger’s syndrome

Do people with Asperger’s syndrome have feelings?

Yes. When one refers to autism as an empathy disorder, it is not because the people who have autism do not have any feelings. People with autism have as many emotions as everyone else. It’s just hard for them to understand and to express these feelings.

It is also difficult for them to gain an understanding of other people’s feelings and thoughts because they often expect others to think and feel like themselves. Other people’s feelings can confuse them. Often they are surprised when they hear how their behavior can affect others.

 

Is the diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome an excuse for parents who cannot raise their child properly?

No. People diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome have a lifelong disability that must be rectified. People with Asperger’s Syndrome processes information and impressions different from others. Therefore, they have other means to understand the information they receive. This knowledge is essential if we as parents are raising a child with Asperger’s syndrome, or working as a professional with people with the syndrome.

 

Are people with Asperger’s syndrome just “geeks “?

No. Of course it can be described as “nerdy” to focus extremely much in one thing and know everything there is to know about it. Many people with Asperger’s syndrome are extremely good at working in IT, which requires systematic thinking.

Also, some people seem hugely eccentric or odd, without being qualified to get an Asperger’s diagnosis.

Asperger syndrome is, however, a disability which means that the person with Asperger’s syndrome thinks and experiences the world differently.

 

Is everyone with Asperger’s syndrome geniuses?

No. It is a misconception that people with autism or Asperger syndrome are geniuses, or “savant” like “Rain Man”. However, their ability to focus on one thing and accumulate a large knowledge of this one thing often makes them experts in their particular field of interest.

 

Is Asperger’s syndrome a mild form of autism?

No. Asperger syndrome is a form of autism. Although people with Asperger’s syndrome, in contrast to people with infantile autism, has a well-developed spoken language, they have not more or less autism than those who have a different diagnosis within the autism spectrum.

 

Is it easier to live with Asperger’s syndrome, than it is to live with other forms of autism?

No, not necessarily. Some people with Asperger syndrome have many attendant problems that can make life difficult, such as depression, obsessions and compulsions and/or anxiety.

Since it is an invisible disability, it can also be difficult to be granted the right public support and help, and the environment may be less lenient than for a person having a visible functional disability.

 

12. 03. 2014

 

 

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