By Roger Mallett
Having recently been diagnosed with Asperger`s Syndrome at the age of 57, this has come as somewhat of a relief to me. Particularly as a child, I can remember having reasons to question my thoughts and to wonder why I felt `different` to other children. Asperger`s Syndrome is included within the International Classification of Diseases Volume 10, and is recognised as a pervasive developmental disorder, with no known cure. Not that I would personally seek one for myself as this would `interfere` with my individual being, and do not feel that It would be advantageous to do so.
Unfortunately, a diagnostic process such as this, tends to focus on the aspects that the individual has difficulty with, rather than focus on their strengths, due to the need to demonstrate evidence that meets the criteria for a developmental condition.
However, there is considerable evidence that the impact of any impairments on an individual's functioning and quality of life can be greatly minimised, and the advantages of the `condition` are much amplified by the provision of an appropriate environment.
Included within the Autism Spectrum of Disorders, Asperger’s Syndrome is one of a group of neurological conditions characterized by a greater or lesser degree of impairment in language and verbal communication skills. Neurotransmitters, which connect neurons to each other, have key roles in normal development of brain, memory, motor activity and behaviour regulation. Based on this information, neurotransmitter system dysfunction is thought to be a cause of Autism Spectrum Disorder, by affecting neuronal cell migration, and eventually the developmental processes of the brain.
Although scientists have carried out a great deal of research into the causes of autism, so far, they have not found a single cause that occurs in all people displaying the numerous traits and behavioural patterns. Therefore, it can be particularly difficult to diagnose especially in adults, who have perhaps learned to `cover-up` or disguise a trait or behaviour.
Asperger`s Syndrome is regarded within the medical profession as a disability. In my opinion, this is a debatable issue as I believe that the benefits far outweigh the negative connotations associated with it.
A recent online survey conducted by Simon Baron-Cohen, (Professor of Developmental Psychopathology) at Cambridge University, attracted around 750,000 respondents which would certainly suggest that further assessments and research into Autism Spectrum Conditions is necessary.
My perception of the world is different to many other people, and for me this is a major advantage. Like it or not, I am part of the `system`, but at least I can recognise that it exists.
When we consider the ongoing programming and controlling of society, it is clear to see the effects of metaphorical `tunnel vision, ` and the inability of the majority to comprehend exactly what is happening around them. I am thankful that I do not perceive the world as most others do, it is a privilege, not a problem.
Roger Mallett [email protected]
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