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This page will disappear soon: we are transitioning to a new website at https://wordpress.com/page/laasperger.wordpress.com/1.

To skip directly to our meeting announcement, click here.

For announcement about our e-blast, click here.

LAASPSG goes international!

To see our website in Belarusian, click here! (дзякуй (thanks) to Nadejda Dobkina)

Our page has also been translated into German,  Russian, and Polish.

There’s no way to verify the accuracy of the translations, which are of old versions (and have old dates).

Unfortunately, our meetings are still in English. No translations are available as yet.

The Official * Home Page of the

Los Angeles Asperger Syndrome** Parents’ Support Group.

"Asperger Syndrome" is the High End of the Autism Spectrum!

We – the Los Angeles Asperger Syndrome Parents’ Support Group – are an informal group of parents, relatives, guardians, spouses, siblings, and care-givers interested in helping our loved ones handling Asperger Syndrome (AS). The “children” are of ages from 2 to above 60. AS is a lifetime issue, though it need not be a disability, especially since “special” problems are so often associated with special abilities.

We meet monthly to discuss these issues, either for general discussions or discussions with invited experts. Our meetings are always on the second Wednesday of each month, always from 7 to 9 p.m. It’s moved away from the old Julia Ann Singer center, but not far away (it’s just across the grass) at the new Julia Ann Singer center. Please join us!  

For more on our group, see below.

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A Recommendation: it’s good to attend our meeting on the second Wednesday of each month and bring your adult loved one with Asperger syndrome to attend the GRASP meeting that occurs down the hall from us on the same day at the same time. That way, a good time can be had by all.

** Name Change. As most of you have heard, the category of Asperger Syndrome was  abolished and made part of the larger category of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Even though the leaders of this group are going to continue to use the phrase “Asperger Syndrome,” it’s useful to know the “official” definition of ASD in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-V).

In general, we do not think that DSM and other psychological definitions are (ahem) definitive. Neither AS not ASD can be detected using a blood test or some other simple medical procedure. Instead, their definitions describe a collection of symptoms, i.e., “aberrant” behaviors associated with a psychological, perceptual, cognitive, or neurological problem that can interfere with individual in life in society. But since it’s a mistake to define any person by his or her diagnosis, the actual definition is not very important. Just as with “neurotypical” people, every individual with AS or ASD is different from every other one. Instead, the purposes of these definitions to help people know what kind of questions should be asked, where to find resources, what books to read, and how to communicate with professionals and aid agencies.

A person’s individual character, psychology, and behavior are much more important than any diagnosis!

Below, I’ve reproduced Barb Kirby‘s common-sense description of Asperger Syndrome (with some minor editing), followed by the new “official” (DSM-V) definition of ASD.

 

Asperger Syndrome or Asperger’s Disorder is a neurobiological disorder named for a Viennese physician, Hans Asperger, who in 1944 published a paper which described a pattern of behaviors in several young boys who had normal intelligence and language development, but who also exhibited autistic-like behaviors and marked deficiencies in social and communication skills. In spite of the publication of his paper in the 1940’s, it wasn’t until 1994 that Asperger Syndrome was added to the DSM IV and only in the past few years has AS been recognized by professionals and parents.

Individuals with AS can exhibit a variety of characteristics and the disorder can range from mild to severe. Persons with AS show marked deficiencies in social skills, have difficulties with transitions or changes and prefer sameness. They often have obsessive routines and may be preoccupied with a particular subject of interest. They have a great deal of difficulty reading nonverbal cues (body language) and very often the individual with AS has difficulty determining proper body space and how to respect others’ need for space. Often overly sensitive to sounds, tastes, smells, and sights, the person with AS may prefer soft clothing, certain foods, and be bothered by sounds or lights no one else seems to hear or see. It’s important to remember that the person with AS perceives the world very differently. Therefore, many behaviors that seem odd or unusual are due to those neurological differences and not the result of intentional rudeness or bad behavior, and most certainly not the result of “improper parenting”.

By definition, those with AS have a normal IQ and many individuals (although not all), exhibit exceptional skill or talent in a specific area. Because of their high degree of functionality and their naiveté, those with AS are often viewed as eccentric or odd and can easily become victims of teasing and bullying. While language development seems, on the surface, normal, individuals with AS often have deficits in pragmatics, prosody, and communication. Vocabularies may be extraordinarily rich and some children sound like “little professors.” However, persons with AS can be extremely literal and have difficulty using language in a social context.

There is a great deal of debate as to exactly where AS fits. It is presently described as an autistic spectrum disorder and Uta Frith, in her book Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, described AS individuals as “having a dash of autism.” Some professionals feel that AS is the same as High Functioning Autism (HFA), while others feel that it is better described as a Nonverbal Learning Disability (NLD). AS shares many of the characteristics of PDD-NOS, HFA, and NLD and because it was virtually unknown until a few years ago, many individuals either received an incorrect diagnosis or remained undiagnosed. For example, it is not at all uncommon for a child who was initially diagnosed with ADD or ADHD be re-diagnosed with AS. In addition, some individuals who were originally diagnosed with HFA or PDD-NOS are now being given the AS diagnosis and many individuals have a dual diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism.

Autism Spectrum Disorders must meet criteria A, B, C, and D:

A.    Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across contexts, not accounted for by general developmental delays, and manifest by all 3 of the following:

1.     Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity; ranging from abnormal social approach and failure of normal back and forth conversation through reduced sharing of interests, emotions, and affect and response to total lack of initiation of social interaction,

2.     Deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviors used for social interaction; ranging from poorly integrated- verbal and nonverbal communication, through abnormalities in eye contact and body-language, or deficits in understanding and use of nonverbal communication, to total lack of facial expression or gestures.

3.     Deficits in developing and maintaining relationships, appropriate to developmental level (beyond those with caregivers); ranging from difficulties adjusting behavior to suit different social contexts through difficulties in sharing imaginative play and  in making friends  to an apparent absence of interest in people

B.    Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities as manifested by at least two of  the following:

1.     Stereotyped or repetitive speech, motor movements, or use of objects; (such as simple motor stereotypies, echolalia, repetitive use of objects, or idiosyncratic phrases). 

2.     Excessive adherence to routines, ritualized patterns of verbal or nonverbal behavior, or excessive resistance to change; (such as motoric rituals, insistence on same route or food, repetitive questioning or extreme distress at small changes).

3.     Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus; (such as strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects, excessively circumscribed or perseverative interests).

4.     Hyper-or hypo-reactivity to sensory input or unusual interest in sensory aspects of environment; (such as apparent indifference to pain/heat/cold, adverse response to specific sounds or textures, excessive smelling or touching of objects, fascination with lights or spinning objects).

C.    Symptoms must be present in early childhood (but may not become fully manifest until social demands exceed limited capacities).

D.    Symptoms together limit and impair everyday functioning.

The above is from http://www.dsm5.org/proposedrevisions/pages/proposedrevision.aspx?rid=94, a page of the American Psychiatric Association website. See also ASD-Diagnostic Criteria.htm

More about our group: We also talk about similar issues, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), high-functioning autism (HFA), Pervasive Development Disorder-NOS, Sensory Processing Disorder, Sensory Integration Dysfunction (or disorder), Nonverbal Learning Disorder, Semantic-Pragmatic Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder, Hyperlexia, Mild Autism, Autism-like, Actively Odd, and (last but not least) Asperger Syndrome Lite. Sheldon, Howard,  Leonard, and even Raj are relevant, of course.

     Because the issues are usually very different, our group is really not the best place for the parents and other supporters of those with “hard-core” or “classical” (Kanner’s) autism, even though many professionals see Asperger Syndrome as a “mild” version of hard-core autism. The issues can be very different.

 

     This group is also not aimed at those with AS themselves, though they are welcome to attend. There are two groups in Los Angeles for adults with AS: AGUA Classic and the local branch of GRASP. For more information about these groups, see our FAQs page.

Announcement: Our new home phone number is 310 636-0101. Please don’t call our old number.

For more information, see our short FAQ list below or our long FAQ list.

 

Important E-Blast Announcement: If you want to join our “e-blast” group (which broadcasts news and views on AS to its members) our system has completely changed. Fran has set up a Yahoo group, which has already replaced the old system. You must be a member of the LA Asperger E-blast Yahoo group to continue receiving e-blasts.  (It is not the same as Aspies_LA.)

To become a member of the e-Blast, go to the  listserve at http://us.rd.yahoo.com/evt=42879/*http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LA_Asperger_Eblast. (You don’t need any approval to join.) The email address is  LA_Asperger_Eblast@yahoogroups.com [with “_” where the blanks appear on the left, so that the prefix of this e-mail address is “LA_Asperger_Eblast” without the quotation marks]. When you join this group, you can also send out announcements, but please limit them to those related to Asperger Syndrome.  If you join, you will also be able to see archived announcements.

 

 

ASPIES_LA is an on-line discussion group under the aegis of Yahoo. If you want to join, go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspies_LA/ and go through the process there. Send an e-mail requesting to join to mailto:aspies_la-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.  The discussion can be quite lively. Members have organized get-togethers. Please join and contribute your thoughts, questions, and experiences! (Please, please, please, no advertising.)

 

Monthly Meeting

Who (the Speakers): the group as a whole, hopefully not all at once.

In general, most people want to talk about their own issues instead of listen to guest speakers. So Fran and I decided not to have speakers unless popular demand prevails.

What (the Topic): whatever people want to discuss.

When (the Time Frame): Wed., July 13, 2016, from 7 to 9 p.m.

We meet on the second Wednesday of each month, come rain or shine, snow or sleet, hail or non-local disaster. In case I forget to edit this page (again?!?), our next meeting after that is on Wed., July 13.

Where (the Venue): the Community Room in the new Julia Ann Singer center, which is in the “Taper Building” westward across the grass from the old Julia Ann Singer Center (now the Baron School) within the Vista del Mar campus: if you’re at the front door of the old place (the Baron school), turn 180 degrees and look for glass big doors near a basketball hoop and the Barbecue to find our current meeting place.

Making matters more confusing, the old building where we used to meet still has the words “Julia Ann Singer” above the front door. But there is a free-standing sign in front of the main entrance to the Taper building that says “Julia Ann Singer / Reiss Davis.” Unfortunately, it is only visible from the South.

The Vista del Mar campus is at 3200 Motor Ave. (Los Angeles, 90064) between National and Pico, 1/2 block North of the Santa Monica (10) Freeway underpass.

For directions, click this link to see maps. For an alternative set of directions to Vista del Mar, click on this link.

Why (the Reason): Because we love you!

Mark your calendars and hire a child-care engineer! Our meeting after the next one is on June 10.  After that, our meetings will occur on July 8, August 12, September 9, October 14, November 11, and December 9 (whew!).

It’s always the second Wednesday of each month. Same time, same place, same friendly people. [Gosh, your humble webmaster should go into advertising… ;-) ]

the Basic FAQs, Ma’am:

     All parents, relatives, guardians, and care-givers are welcome. Drop-ins are welcome. This is not a members-only group. In fact, there is no membership list – and no fees. [We are, however, considering instituting a secret door-knock to get into our meetings.]

     Unfortunately (alack and alas!), we cannot provide childcare. Please do not bring your children and immature teens to the meeting (unless it’s noted otherwise in our announcements), since it may interfere with the ability of adults to talk to each other. (Adult children and mature teens are of course welcome.)

     Another apology: our meetings are only in English. Igpay Atinlay is okay, but don’t expect us to understand it or answer you.

     Teachers and mental-health professionals are also welcome. (Reporters & researchers: please click here .)

     Everything said at our meetings is kept in total confidence, while our e-mailing lists are totally secret.

     The organizers of the group are Jim Devine and Fran Goldfarb. Call us for information about Asperger Syndrome or about our support group at 310 636-0101. Note that this number has changed. [This is our home phone. Call only after 7 a.m. and before 9 p.m., please. Also, we sleep late on weekends.]

     We have e-mail at: laasperger@gmail.com, jdevine@lmu.edu (Jim), and beadsme@verizon.net (Fran). For e-mails, please use the word “Asperger” in the subject line, so that it’s easier to separate your wheat from the chaff of spam.

     For more FAQs, click here.

Crucial Disclaimers: This web-page and all of its sub-pages are designed for educational purposes only. The contents of this web-site are not medical, legal, technical or therapeutic advice and must not be construed as such. The information contained herein is not intended to substitute for informed professional diagnosis, advice or therapy. Visitors should not use this information to diagnose or treat Asperger Syndrome or related disorders without also consulting a qualified medical, psychological, or educational professional.

However, it’s better than astrology.

Announcements: see a separate page.

ARTICLES:

Fran’s Articles.

     Fran wrote a short book for our son Guthrie (when he was about 15) on how to fly on an airplane by himself. It may be a useful template for others (and for other activities). Click here if you have Adobe Reader. If you can read Microsoft Publisher files, click here.

     She also wrote an article “How to speak Asperger’s“ published in the book Our Journey Through Asperger’s Syndrome and High Functioning Autism: A Roadmap, edited by Linda Andron (Jessica Kingsley Publ.) It appears along with a small book written by our son, when he was very young (age 7). If you want the original book, go to Jessica Kingsley’s page here. [We receive no royalties, but it’s a really good book.]

     A Letter to a camp counselor or teacher about a child with Asperger Syndrome. This one’s a widely-recognized classic!

     from the Village Glen Voice: A book report on Medications.

On the California Department of Education .

On the Regional Center for the Developmentally Disabled.

On IEPs (Individualized Education Plans).

Jim’s Articles. [that’s your humble web-meister!]

     the “Asperger Chronicles (about our son’s experiences – and my own – with AS).

     A revised (and thankfully shorter!) version of this essay appeared in the book Our Journey Through Asperger’s Syndrome and High Functioning Autism: A Roadmap, edited by Linda Andron (Jessica Kingsley Publ.) Here’s a link to it. If you want the original book, go to Jessica Kingsley’s page here. [There is no financial incentive for us to advertise that book, but it’s very good nonetheless. If they actually paid us, the book would be even better!]

More Articles.

     IEP form: Stefani Uhley sent in a summary concerning what to do about IEPs, written by Colleen F. Tomko (copyright 1998) that should be useful. Click here . Thanks!

     An article on social skills by Dan Coulter. For more of his articles, see his web-site.

An interesting article on AS, by Michael McCroskery, complete with links: “Asperger’s Syndrome: A Developmental Puzzle” (click here ).

Also, here’s a short discussion of Michael’s symptoms. (He is an adult with AS. He currently is working as an online advocator in trying to promote the awareness of AS. Michael can be reached at MrPolisci@aol.com.)

     More articles are welcome!

Please e-mail me at laasperger@gmail.com or jdevine@lmu.edu if you have any questions or comments – or if you want to be put on either

1.     our e-mailing list for monthly meeting announcements and nothing else (out-of-town folks won’t be interested); or

2.     our e-blast list for other announcements, current articles, etc., more than enough to fill your in-box.

Neither of these is a discussion group list-server. For this, join the Aspies_LA discussion group by sending e-mail to aspies_la-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

If you want to add something to our web pages, please send them to Jim at jdevine@lmu.edu.

* Don’t be fooled by cheap imitations! But this one is being replaced by https://wordpress.com/page/laasperger.wordpress.com/1 soon.

** See the discussion above about the name change.

*** NOTE: We are not responsible for the content of the pages at the other ends of these links. The decision about which links were chosen was made somewhat at random. The order is also somewhat random.

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 | Frequently Asked Questions | Asperger Links | Definitions | Directions to Meetings |

This page revised by Jim Devine, on 22 June 2016. It was deliberately kept simple (no Java, etc.) so that anyone’s browser can read it – and, more importantly, because I lack the skills to allow me to add bells and whistles.  This page is Copyright 2015 by James Devine.