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April 13th, 2010:

What is Aspergers'

As explained on the NBC website after the newly created show, “Parenthood” aired an episode on aspergers.  It’s about time that the media started paying attention to autism- a national epidemic.  We applaud networks like NBC and PBS for doing so….

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Asperger’s Disorder was first described by Viennese pediatrician Hans Asperger in the 1940s, who observed boys who possessed normal intelligence and language development traits but were experiencing challenges with social and communication skills. Though it was classified as a separate disorder from autism in 1994, many professionals feel that Asperger syndrome is simply a milder form of autism; they use the term “high-functioning autism.” Separate or not, it is a very real condition that can have significant impact on affected families, like the fictional Bravermans of “Parenthood.”

What can I do if I think my child has Asperger syndrome?

Talk with your child’s doctor or nurse. If you or your doctor thinks there could be a problem, ask for a referral to see a specialist such as a developmental pediatrician or psychologist. Talk with your child’s teacher or school counselor, too.

Want to know more? Here are some resources that can help you better understand Asperger syndrome and its treatment:

Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support (OASIS) Center

The Autism Society

A Parent’s Guide to Asperger Syndrome from the CDC