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The Answers to

Frequently Asked Questions.

[What is AS?] [Who Should Attend?] ][The Nature of the Group] [For Reporters & Researchers]

We meet on the second Wednesday of each month, at the Mark Taper building in the Vista del Mar in West Los Angeles. On rare occasions, we have an invited speaker. Mostly, we have general discussions among parents.

What is Asperger Syndrome?

Click here for a common-sense definition of Asperger Syndrome by our e-friend Barb Kirby or here for the definition (diagnostic criteria) from the DSM-IV (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual #4, the diagnostic "bible"). There are several other diagnostic criteria, as from the World Health Organization, Gilberg & Gilberg, and Szatmari et al. Of course, the new DSM-V has dropped the AS category and thus the definition. But its easier to say than high-functioning autism spectrum disorder, so we continue to use the term.

Our group sees any such diagnostic criteria as working hypotheses that can help communicate with care-givers, clarify discussion, and guide treatment. They change as new research occurs (or the DSMs committees come to new decisions), so we are not wedded to any of them. The fact that the new DSM dropped Asperger Syndrome from its list does not perturb us at all.

For our group discussion, we believe (to quote Tony Attwood) that the difference between Asperger Syndrome and high-functioning autism (HFA) is that they're spelled differently. Outside of academic research seminars, most discussions concerning the differences between them are a waste of time.

o   Click here to see an old comparison from the Autism Society's home page.

o   AS and HFA are neighboring parts of the same spectrum, like indigo and violet. They also seem similar to "Pervasive Development Disorder-NOS" and "Non-Verbal Learning Disorder." People with AS often have other symptoms, such as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder and depression.

For a wealth of information on Asperger Syndrome, see the OASIS@MAAP web page or reader-friendly books on AS by Tony Attwood and by Brenda Smith Myles & Richard L. Simpson. There are many books about AS and you can find them by searching on the web. JKP publishes a new one almost every month.

Whos Welcome?

All folks interested in Asperger Syndrome (AS) are welcome. But note that the LA AS PSG (or group) is specifically for the parents or guardians of children (of whatever age), friends, and relatives with Asperger Syndrome or related disorders.

Please do not bring your children and immature teens to the meeting (unless its 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.

People with AS themselves are encouraged to instead attend either AGUA Classic (where the initials stand for Adults Gathering, United and Autistic) or GRASP (the Global and Regional Asperger Partnership) or both. The local branches of the Autism Society also has adult support groups.

AGUA (Adults Gathering, United and Autistic) Classic. AGUA Classic is a friendly self-advocacy support group for adults with autism or Asperger Syndrome. Meetings are held on the first Saturday of the month, location varies. Contact Ken Brewer at (323) 296-2646 or Derrick Hall at (323) 840-9592 for information.

o   For more description and the answers to Frequently Asked Questions concerning their group, click here.

o   E-mail: aguaclassic@earthlink.net.

o   Agua Classic has nothing at all to do with Coke Classic.

GRASP/Los Angeles (the local branch of GRASP) meets monthly in the same Vista del Mar campus where we meet at the same time. So its possible for different members of a family to attend two meetings at the same time!

o   It meets on the 2nd Wednesday of every month from 7 - 9 pm. Please see the GRASP calendar for upcoming meeting dates.

o   Their location is in a different community room in the same building as ours, the Taper building at Vista Del Mar, 3200 Motor Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90034-3740. You can find a map by using this link. Use this link for the website for Vista Del Mar.

o   You can subscribe to the Los Angeles Group to be updated on our location and meeting dates.

o   Their meetings start with light refreshments and conversation from 7:00 to 7:30 pm. The main part of the meeting is a discussion of a topic of interest from 7:30 to 8:30 pm. Those who wish may remain for announcements, questions and answers, and general sharing from 8:30 to 9:00 pm.

Teachers and mental-health professionals are also welcome. But reporters, students, or researchers who want to attend our meetings should talk to Jim or Fran beforehand (at 310 636-0101). Frans office phone is 323 361-3831, while Jims is 310 338-2948. We have some rules:

Please tell people that you are a student, researcher, or reporter when we do group introductions.

Plan to stay for the entire meeting.

Please do not take notes during the meeting.

For other support groups in the Los Angeles area, including those for parents of children with classical autism, click here.

The Nature of the Group.

There are no membership requirements or fees for attendance. Of course, the bringing of pastries is always appreciated.

We are not a 12-step or a "recovery" group. Rather, our group provides a place where parents can give information and support to each other. Everything said will be held in the strictest of confidence.

Fran and Jim are not MDs or Ph.D.s in psychology but are parents of a child with AS. Fran is a professional health educator, while Jim is a professional economist who has his own tendencies toward AS. He will tell you all about them at length in a tedious monotone if you make the mistake of asking him about them. ;-) (How often can your humble webmeister make perseveration jokes?)

Unfortunately, we cannot provide childcare.

Another apology: our meetings are only in English, though some people have brought their own translators.

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 its easier to separate your wheat from the chaff of spam.

(written by Jim Devine)

[What is it?] [Who Should Attend?] ][The Nature of the Group]

Please e-mail me at jdevine@lmu.edu if you have any questions or comments -- or if you want to be put on our e-mailing list. If you want information put on our web pages, contact me.

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This page revised by Jim Devine on March 18, 2014.