But the Autism issue is most important to me because both of my daughters (teen and pre-teen) have Asperger's Syndrome, which is an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
What is Autism?
It is associated with profound problems of speech, behavior and social relationships. Autism is a disorder that develops in early childhood. It is four times more prevalent in boys than in girls.
Children with autism do not display a fixed set of symptoms. This means that one child’s symptom may be different from another and the symptoms may vary in their severity. The symptoms may also combine in a unique way for each child thereby producing different sets of problems or difficulties among children with autism. For this reason, autism is commonly referred to as Autistic Spectrum Disorders.
At the mild end of the autism spectrum is Asperger's Syndrome, sometimes referred to as “high functioning autism.” Children with Asperger's Syndrome do not have general language delay and many have average or even above average intelligence.
So what exactly is Asperger's Syndrome (or Disorder)?
In Asperger's Disorder, affected individuals are characterized by social isolation and eccentric behavior in childhood. There are impairments in two-sided social interaction and non-verbal communication. Though grammatical, their speech may sound peculiar due to abnormalities of inflection and a repetitive pattern. Clumsiness may be prominent both in their articulation and gross motor behavior.
Difficulties with money management, pack rack tendencies, and/or impulsively giving possessions away are common traits in the Aspie race (Fattig, 2007). Hyper reactivity to gustatory, olfactory, or textural can lead to under eating, refusal to eat all but just one or two foods, or malnourishment. Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, nightmares or night terrors, is common in people with Asperger’s.
They usually have a circumscribed area of interest which usually leaves no space for more age appropriate, common interests. Some examples are cars, trains, French Literature, door knobs, hinges, cappucino, meteorology, astronomy or history. The name "Asperger" comes from Hans Asperger, an Austrian physician who first described the syndrome in 1944.
So there you have it. Maybe reading some of these symptoms will remind you of someone you know. (Ever had an eccentric old aunt, or a quirky teacher?)
Here's a list of some famous people who have, or are thought to have, Asperger's Syndrome:
Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Leonardo daVinci, Beethoven, Bill Gates, Robin Williams, Stephen Spielberg, Peter Tork (The Monkees), Satoshi Tajiri (creator of Pokemon), Keanu Reeves, Bob Dylan, and many more.
The Puzzle Ribbon Story
The puzzle pattern reflects the mystery and complexity of the autism spectrum. The different colors and shapes represent the diversity of the people and families living with the condition. The brightness of the ribbon signals hope-hope that through increased awareness of autism, and through early intervention and appropriate treatments, people with autism will lead fuller, more complete lives.
If you've gotten this far down the post, thank you for reading it! There are many autism and asperger web sites on Google if you would like to research more.