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.
LittleGiantFudge.com and Palmer Bus Service make this column possible.
Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers.
Daniel J. Vance may be reached at www.danieljvance.com
Pet Care | Real Estate | Restaurants | Tech | View All | * Add/Upgrade Business
Placer County News HeadlinesPCWA Customers Curb Water Use 34 PercentDrought Watch: Since June of this year, PCWA customers have decreased water use by 34 percent in comparison to base year 2013.
Roseville Area Events Calendar for October 3, 2015Roseville, CA - Bright sunshine and warm temps make for ideal conditions as the fall events season kicks into full swing in Roseville and beyond.
Placer County Child Support Services Recognized for ImprovementsThe Placer County Department of Child Support Services has received the 2015 Most Improved Child Support Program Award
Free Hazardous Waste Drop Off in AuburnPLACER COUNTY, Calif. - The Western Placer Waste Management Authority's annual household hazardous waste collection event will be held Saturday and Sunday
Repeat DUI's Targeted with Ignition Interlock ProgramOn Monday, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 61, adding another 18 months to a four-county ignition interlock pilot program
California Fire Updates Summary (10-2-15)Nearly 1,000 firefighters are battling 7 large fires. In Northern California, an area of low pressure is moving throughout the area today with light showers
Lincoln Salmon Festival Celebration October 3rdLincoln, CA - The Wildlife Heritage Foundation (WHF) is gearing up for the sixth annual Salmon Celebration to bring awareness to the migrating salmon population
Roseville Coffee Wars: Dunkin Donuts and Dutch Bros. ExpandingRoseville, CA - Coffee is big business and Roseville is at center stage in South Placer County as the coffee giants battle it out to serve up their high-priced specialty brews.
151,000 Acres Scarred: Rough Fire GrowsCalifornia Fire Updates 2015: In Northern California, an area of low pressure is moving slowly into the area today with light showers expected and cooler temperatures
Seniors First Awarded Grant from Wells FargoSeniors First was recently awarded $10,000 grant from Wells Fargo Bank which will help to continue funding of Seniors First's eight Senior Cafes
Salmon Celebration Festival in Lincoln October 3rdLincoln, CA - The Wildlife Heritage Foundation (WHF) is gearing up for the sixth annual Salmon Celebration
Free Healthy Aging Program Presentations in OctoberIn a series of four Saturday morning sessions at UC Davis School of Medicine, attendees will learn the latest from physicians and other experts about aging and medical science.
NEWS: In Case You Missed It