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Asperger's Teen Loves Legos and Phillies




Recently, I featured 43-year-old New Jerseyan Dorothy Smaniotto, who has antiphosopholipid syndrome (APS), also called "sticky blood disease." In 2008, due to APS, she had two disabling strokes and a heart attack before doctors could figure out what was wrong. Later that year, she had a hysterectomy and double mastectomy due to an unrelated condition.

What I didn't mention then was that her 14-year-old son has Asperger's syndrome, a mild form of autism. Interest in Asperger's reached fever pitch recently when news outlets revealed Connecticut slayer Lanza had Asperger's syndrome. Speaking as a licensed professional counselor, I can say without doubt those school children didn't die because of Lanza having Asperger's syndrome.

Smaniotto said in a telephone interview her son had been precocious as a toddler, even to the point of speaking clear words at age six months, knowing the makes and models of cars at 18 months, and reading books at age two.

She said, "Alex was diagnosed in first grade because he had such fixations on certain items, and external noise and classroom lighting bothered him. We were scared to death when we found out he had (Asperger's). We didn't know anything about it."

A National Institutes of Health website explains Asperger's is characterized by "social impairment, communication difficulties, and restrictive, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior." The social impairment may involve lack of eye contact and facial expression, and a difficulty maintaining relationships and having back and forth communication. Sometimes, like Alex, people with Asperger's have very high IQs.

Smaniotto said her son in third grade was mistakenly accused of doing something wrong by two school workers and was harshly brought down to the ground. Alex didn't understand what was happening, sustained bruising, and had an asthma attack. That was the last day he set foot in the public school.

"So we took him to a private school," said Smaniotto. "He loves it there and just started ninth grade. His whole personality has blossomed. As for a (work) career, Alex wants to be a neurologist because of everything that has happened to me."

She added, "I love everything about Alex. Everyone knowing him will tell you he's a very loving and caring child. He loves animals, Legos, online games, and the Philadelphia Phillies." Smaniotto advised parents of children with Asperger's to keep working for their child's best interests, especially at school.





Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn.




Placer County News Headlines

All-new Volkswagen Atlas a roomy SUVRoseville, CA,- Looking to fill what it considered a void in its sport utility vehicle offerings, Volkswagen developed the 2018 Atlas.

Lower Cost Electricity Anticipated for Some Placer County ResidentsPLACER COUNTY, CA - In December, residents and businesses will receive the first of several notices informing them about the coming change in their electric energy supply

Groundbreaking for Interstate 80 / Highway-65 Interchange ImprovementsRoseville, CA, - The Placer County Transportation Planning Agency (PCTPA), in partnership with Caltrans, the South Placer Regional Transportation Authority, the Federal Highway Administration

Merry Days & Holly Nights at Squaw Valley Alpine MeadowsOlympic Valley, Calif.- Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is celebrating its second annual Merry Days & Holly Nights, two weeks of spirited events and activities December 16-31.

Southern California Fires Fueled by WindsOver 8,500 firefighters have made significant progress on the wildfires burning in southern California. As containment lines continue to be reinforced, many evacuations have been lifted

$111 Million Budget Adopted by PCWA BoardAUBURN, Calif. , - At its December 7 meeting, the Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) Board of Directors adopted the Agency's 2018 budget

Woman Found Dead in the American River CanyonAuburn, CA,- The Placer County Sheriff's Coroner's Office has confirmed the identity of the woman found in the American River canyon Wednesday as Yin Wong, 33, of Sacramento.

Reward Offered in Khaki Bandit CaseSACRAMENTO- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of an armed and dangerous individual

Joey Travolta to Speak at MIND Institute(Sacramento, Calif.)-The UC Davis MIND Institute will host Joey Travolta on Wednesday, Dec. 13 as part of the ongoing Distinguished Lecturer Series. Travolta, owner of Inclusion Films

Medieval Armored Combat in Roseville @ the GroundsRoseville, CA - On Dec. 9-10 the newly renovated barn @the Grounds will showcase real knights in real battles in true medieval fashion for the Armored Combat League

Placer County Property Taxes Due ReminderAuburn, CA, - Placer County Treasurer-Tax Collector Jenine Windeshausen reminds property owners that the first installment of their annual property taxes for the 2017-18 tax year

Folsom Zoo Wild Nights and Holiday LightsFolsom, CA,- Many hours of hands-on work by local families, businesses, community groups and city staff go into installing the lights, decorations and displays for the Folsom Zoo


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