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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.





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



Placer County News Headlines

Sutter Roseville Medical Center Opens New ChapelSutter Roseville Medical Center (SRMC) dedicated its new chapel this week, highlighting the beautiful space available to patients, visitors and staff

Deputy Secretary of Commerce Kicks Off Cap-To-CapOver 320 regional business, civic and elected officials travel to Washington, D.C. this week to meet with federal representatives to advocate on behalf of the six-county Sacramento region.

Miss Placer County Pageant Accepting ApplicationsMiss Placer County Pageant accepting applications for the June 27th pageant at the Placer County Fair.

Rocklin Crime Report Digest Update (4-17-15)Rocklin crime summary and digest update report for the period of April 6- 12, 2015.

Roseville Crime Report Digest Update (4.17.15)Weekly crime report digest update for Roseville, April 17, 2015

Roseville Vendor Workshop April 30thThe Roseville Chamber of Commerce is working in partnership with the City of Roseville on a commitment to educate our members on the City's bidding process

Sports Complex in Roseville Expected to Boost EconomyPlacer Valley Tourism and The City of Roseville are moving forward on plans to build a regional park with eight to twelve multi-use fields to strengthen Placer County's

Playing to Win at Studio Movie Grill in Rocklin May 9thPlaying to Win: A Relentless Pursuit to Save a Team to premiere at Rocklin's Studio Movie Grill beginning May 9th

Disney's High School Musical at Harris Center in FolsomDisney's High School Musical, which will run May 1-17, 2015 at the Harris Center in Folsom.

Roseville 2015: Tickets for May 14th EventRoseville Chamber of Commerce To Highlight Region's Outlook of Innovation at Signature Business Event

Rugby Tournament and Playoffs at Cherry IslandRugby Norcal is pleased to announce they will be hosting the 11th Annual Northern California Invitational Tournament (NCIT) and High School Playoffs at Cherry Island

Rocklin Presentation: The Geology of the Northern Sierra NevadaThe Sierra College Natural History Museum will host a presentation entitled "The Geology of the Northern Sierra Nevada" by Professor Dick Hilton


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