Asperger syndrome, what it is and how to deal with it

People with autism: how to improve the quality of life and guarantee them a future

People with Asperger syndrome are particularly intelligent and this makes them distant from relationships with others

On February 18, a day is celebrated to raise awareness of Asperger syndrome. Indeed, on the day of birth of Hans Asperger, the discoverer of this condition, which today can be diagnosed as early as possible, to provide the children who present the picture, their families and all the people who work around him, with a "suitcase ”Of tools to promote social integration.

Daniela Chieffo, neuropsychologist and psychotherapist of the Agostino Gemelli University Polyclinic Foundation IRCCS, explains the situation and remembers how “the goal is to transform, through a tangible and respectful solidarity, a condition of disability into a condition of normal functioning of the potential of each individual, providing personalized services and assistance ".

Living intelligence, limited interests

First of all, a clarification should be made. In the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a sort of international "Bible" for experts, Asperger's syndrome no longer appears. It has been replaced by "Autism spectrum disorder".

In all cases, regardless of the terms, children suffering from this syndrome, so called by the name of the Austrian pediatrician born on February 18, are particularly intelligent, evanescent, fascinating. “Sometimes they appear detached or suddenly immersed. Inhibits or details – explains the expert ". Those who suffer have a lively intelligence, often above average, with narrow and stereotyped interests.

"Around 7 years old many children with Asperger's Syndrome already dream of subterranean desires, express superlative 'selective' knowledge, build lego above the norm – Chieffo says. They absorb books as if they were scanners. But their extreme ability to process everything around makes them distant from relationships with others. Paralyzed in their imaginative thinking, not very creative. A mind so refined that it cannot tune into the close mind. So a life built on frailty in being understood. And in not being able to understand the emotional language of the other, the interpretation of idioms, metaphors, communication and reciprocity. They struggle to understand the theories that govern relationships, they short-circuit in front of white lies. "

Unfortunately, the outside world is struggling to understand these dynamics and therefore these children are sometimes seen as "strange", certainly eccentric and at least "particular" in the school environment. This leads them to encounter not really gentle attitudes on the part of their companions, so much so that they sometimes become "ideal" scapegoats.

"Their quality of life often comes to terms with the hypersensitivity of the five senses, the difficulty of filtering a noise and interpreting it. In a social world, they are sometimes considered to be indifferent or insensitive, but in reality they are on the contrary, children or young people who cannot orchestrate their internal emotions, thus placing themselves in an "apparent" distance – reiterates the expert ".

The story in the books

"There are many authors, films, books that resume stories with Asperger's Syndrome, I like to remember Susanna Tamaro, in her latest book" Your gaze illuminates the world ", a series of moving letters written to her brotherly friend Pierluigi Cappello, in which the writer tells the "prison, in which she lives since she remembers herself" – specifies Chieffo.

“My head – he writes – is not very different from an old motorcycle. At certain times the throttle grip goes to maximum, in others the spark plugs are dirty and the engine engulfs ”. “People with this syndrome live immersed in an innate candor. They are unable to imagine the evil in the people with whom they enter into a relationship, they do not understand their intentions and this makes us the natural victims of every bully, every sadist and every pervert. Our intimate, helpless fragility instigates the tribal dominance of the group. And the way in which this force manifests itself is the blind and perverse one that arises from the shaded area that every human being keeps deep within his heart. "

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