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The Asperger person will have had to learn with great effort what others learn quite naturally. Lorna Wing, M. However, it is only recently that Asperger's syndrome has been accepted as a subtype of autism belonging on the autistic spectrum. Until 1981 the scientific community held to a rigid and limited view of autism that relied upon Kanner's timetable for language delay as well as impaired cognitive or mental abilities. When Dr Wing used the term Asperger's syndrome to describe a group of patients whose pathologies were very similar to the personalities and abilities described by Asperger, she sparked a debate about degrees of severity along the autistic spectrum and whether Asperger's syndrome is a form of autism. In the group Dr Wing described, some of the patients demonstrated language impairments and social aloofness when very young, but then they went on to develop normal speech patterns and a need to socialize. In this sense they developed beyond the traditional diagnosis of autism. Years ago, I had a lovely work colleague whom I'll call Viola, who invited me to a small dinner party at her home one Friday. There was a snowstorm that day that caused horrid traffic, and I arrived late. As soon as I entered the apartment, I said breathlessly to a bunch of people I had never met, OH SHIT I'M SO SORRY I'M LATE THIS WEATHER IS SO SHIT. Everyone looked uncomfortable. Out of nervousness, I rattled on, I WOULD'VE BEEN HERE EARLIER EXCEPT I STOPPED BY THE STORE TO PICK UP THIS BOTTLE AND THE LINE WAS GOING ALL THE WAY ROUND THE BLOCK THEN I RAN ALL THE WAY HERE SO I'M OUT OF BREATH WOW I SOUND ASTHMATIC I HOPE EVERYONE LIKES SANCERRE? They sat in silence. I kept trying to win people over with more babble. They were exceedingly polite, but I knew something was wrong. The following Monday at work, Viola cleared up the mystery of everyone's discomfort. On the Friday evening, just before I burst in, one of the other guests was making a big announcement to the group: she had inoperable pancreatic cancer, was not doing chemo, and had weeks or months to live. I remembered the romance we had enjoyed at the beginning of our relationship, as well as a few moments during which Maureen and I seemed fully present with one another. I fostered Hollywood-scale fantasies that Maureen was indeed my soulmate, and I had missed my opportunity to be with her. Subsequently I was distracted from being present in any new relationships because my reveries were with Maureen.

Finally I found the courage to call Maureen and tell her, I really miss you and I would like to get together with you. Yes, I miss you, too, she replied. I want to see you, too. We made a date for Thursday evening, until which I spent most of my time humming Back in the Saddle Again, anticipating the rekindling of our love. Late Thursday afternoon I received a telephone call from Maureen. Gee, I'm sorry, she told me; Kevin needs a ride to karate school, so I guess I won't be able to make it tonight. They still demonstrated significant difficulties in social skills and reciprocal dialogue as well as very narrow areas of intense interest, characteristics that closely resembled Asperger's original group of children. Over time, the scientific community has come to recognize that Asperger's syndrome is indeed a milder form of autism and belongs on the autistic spectrum. The DSM-IV-TR states, Asperger's Disorder is characterized by stereotyped behaviors and interests and by more severely impaired social interaction. Yet to obtain a professional diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome, a person must meet the following criteria as taken from the DSM-IV-TR: Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following: Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following: The disturbance causes clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. There is no clinically significant general delay in language (eg, single words used by age 2 years, communicative phrases used by age 3 years). There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self-help skills, adaptive behavior (other than in social interaction), and curiosity about the environment in childhood. Criteria are not met for another specific Pervasive Development Disorder or Schizophrenia. Apparently, the last thing she had said before I started yelling was, I'm just going to focus on quality of life and creating memories for my husband. I guess I became one of those memories. Obviously, there was no way I could have known that.

And Viola did not tell me this story in a reproachful way. I apologized, flustered, for barreling in with my interminable apology, and she said, No, of course! There's no way you could have known. Think nothing of it. I just wanted to let you know. But I could tell that I would never be invited back to Viola's house. Now you might be thinking, Hey, Euny, that's a very awkward coincidence, but you did nothing wrong. After we hung up I sat back and had a good laugh. The light of reality flooded over the screen of my romantic movie as I remembered why we hadn't been able to have a relationship. I was glad I called Maureen. Our last interaction dashed my remaining fantasies - which was exactly what I needed. I was then able to truly release Maureen and get on with my life. Romanticizing past relationships often stems from a deeper pattern of romanticizing our parent of the opposite sex. As John Bradshaw explains, we idealize this parent in our memory as we fail to acknowledge their human shortcomings. This can be a serious hindrance to being open to participate in quality relationships, as we compare our human partner to an angelic ideal with which it is impossible for them to compete. If we are to enjoy rewarding relationships, we must be fully present with them. We must tell the truth about our past, let the dead rest in peace, and not superimpose fantasies or idealized parents over the face of our present loved one. According to Dr Wing, a diagnosis of Asperger's disorder often comes after a child starts school, especially if there has been no significant delay in language. Likewise, it is during this period that the rigidity or insistence upon sameness of children with Asperger's syndrome becomes apparent. Thus even shifting from task to task during the course of a day can be upsetting to a child with Asperger's syndrome.

If you're familiar with ADHD, perhaps you're beginning to see that it has a lot in common with Asperger's syndrome. Both are typically diagnosed in school-age children, and they both affect how a child relates socially to others. I'll discuss these similarities in more detail in the next article. However, to understand more fully how ADHD is currently diagnosed, we must return to the DSM-IV-TR guidelines. WHAT IS ADHD? By far the most popular developmental disorder is ADHD. The DSM-IV-TR estimates that ADHD affects 3 to 7 percent of all school-age children with a 4:1 ratio of diagnosis for boys to girls. If they don't see that, they're being unfair. True, I hadn't done anything wrong, but intent is not impact. They associated me with ill feeling, and they probably felt guilty about having those ill feelings, but it's hard to get that stench off the whole situation. HOW I SHOULD HAVE USED MY NUNCHI Despite my lateness to the party, there was no reason why I couldn't have honored the room before crossing the threshold. It's not as if I were delivering live bodily organs for transplant; I could have taken a few seconds to do my nunchi room-entry ritual, ie quietly assessing the existing climate of the room rather than immediately changing it like some obstreperous pizza-delivery guy. Later at home, as I sifted through my mental screenshots of the room, I remembered the following details: When Viola's husband answered the door, he whispered welcome very quietly, which should have been my cue that either something was off, or I should at least have turned on my nunchi switch to see what might be happening. When I entered the room, no one was smiling--odd for a dinner party. Then and only then will we see them as they truly are. The Past Isn`t What it Used to Be Dr Jerry Jampolsky defines forgiveness as giving up all hope for a better past.

The most powerful way to release ourselves from a painful past is to reframe situations that have occurred. To reframe, take a situation which is distorted by regret or fantasy and ask, Is there another way I can look at this? Can I see this experience in a way that brings peace and empowerment? Look at the story from another angle and you will see another picture, often radically unlike the one you saw when you first looked at it. The facts of the situation remain the same, but seen in a new light we may recognize an altogether different purpose than the one we originally assigned to it Perhaps the experience helped bring us to a place in life that we now value. Instead of cursing us, the experience ultimately blessed us. A Course in Miracles brings us the refreshing news that All of your past is gone except the blessing it has left you. Like Asperger's syndrome, ADHD is a developmental disorder that becomes most evident after a child begins school. It is in this setting that inattention and/or impulsivity often cause disruptions severe enough to warrant medical attention. According to the DSM-IV-TR, the central feature of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity that is more frequently displayed and more severe than is typically observed in individuals at a comparable level of development. The diagnostic criteria for ADHD occur in the DSM-IV-TR as follows: Either (1) or (2): Impulsivity Some hyperactive-impulsive or inattentive symptoms that caused impairment were present before age 7 years. Some impairment from the symptoms is present in two or more settings (eg, at school or work and at home). There must be clear evidence of clinically significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning. The symptoms do not occur exclusively during the course of a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Schizophrenia, or other Psychotic Disorder and are not better accounted for by another mental disorder (eg, Mood Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Dissociative Disorder, or a Personality Disorder). I assumed they were annoyed at my lateness, because when you don't use your nunchi, you think everything is about you. The terminally ill woman was not eating or drinking anything. The man next to the terminally ill woman had her hand in his, clasping it in both his hands.