An autistic person doesn’t necessarily resemble the character played by Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. In fact, he or she may not even remotely resemble the portrayal, if the subject suffers from Asperger Syndrome. The autistic individual does not suffer any language retardation and actually possesses a perfectly normal intellectual development. On the other hand, as many other persons suffering from autism, they cannot easily handle change in the organization of their lives and can experience strong bouts of anxiety when routine is unexpectedly disturbed.
Austrian psychiatrist Hans Asperger discovered this pathology in 1943. It has only been only several years since the scientific community finally acknowledged his finding. The mental disorder provoked by the Asperger syndrome, is very specific in that it affects communication and comprehension. It specifically centers on exceptional qualities in a given environment. Those suffering from Asperger avoid human contacts as often as possible, a surrounding in which they do not feel at ease. However, they are able to express themselves in subjects that fascinate them for hours.
They show an amazing knowledge of extraordinary verbal intelligence, while at the same time experiencing problems in integrating abstract concepts from oral expression. If you said to an Asperger child that his “eyes are bigger than his stomach” to indicate greed, he will run towards a mirror to verify if what you said was true! They are fond of solitude and show an astonishing ability to memorize. They possess a generally superior IQ than the average.
People suffering from this are aware of what they are afflicted with. Some only discover their ailment later on, after having lived with it for many years. Very often, they find interest in topics shunned by most mortals. As children, they are fascinated by geology, astronomy, architecture, and are able to devour an impressive amount of data on their favorite hobby.
Gilles Tréhin, famous for his appearance on a French talk show, suffers from Asperger. Since years he has been drawing complex maps of an imaginary city, Urville, in which he describes all aspects of the city, its political, cultural, economic and geographic structures. A mind-blowing endeavor which one cannot cease to want to know more. Asperger autistics are withdrawn but they enjoy trying to open their world to others. This is the power of their sensitivity.
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