Sunday, April 10, 2011

Many kids with Asperger's will find success, if given right kind of education, Canadian researcher says

From Global Calgary in Canada:

CALGARY, Canada - Evan Nagel looked like a typical young boy to the passing observer, but his mother Sharon knew something was different.

“From age four or five we had some concerns, motor issues, frustration issues, social issues. He didn’t want to play with other kids, share his toys, things like that.”

By the time Evan began school, doctors suspected he was autistic, more specifically, a syndrome that had just recently been identified.

“For Asperger’s syndrome, the kids it’s the social interaction. He was unbelievably smart, read early intellectually, he was really ahead of the game but socially behind,” says Sharon.

Animal scientist Temple Grandin has become the most well known person with Asperger’s. At birth, doctors wrote her off as having suffered brain damage. She went on to revolutionize the livestock industry.

University of Calgary Researcher Adam McCrimmon believes all children with Asperger’s have the potential for success with the right kind of education.

“They have a lot of success knowing a lot of emotional information,” says McCrimmon.

“They know what is happy and what is sad and they can understand that sort of information, they just don’t use it very often.”

That’s because they don’t know how, according to McCrimmon, but like Evan, they’re capable of learning those social skills so many taken for granted.

“We would practice play dates and we tried to make sure there were three social interactions a week with other kids,” says Sharon.

Today, Evan is 21-years-old and in his final year of university, a success that Sharon believes all those with Asperger’s are capable of.