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 HeadlinesCalifornia Water Use Drops over 31 Percent in JulyDrought Watch: Despite continued hot conditions, Californians surpassed June's conservation rate and reduced water use by 31.3 percent during July, exceeding Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.'s 25 percent
California Fire Update Summary (8-27-15)California Fire Updates 2015:Over 9,000 firefighters are battling 16 active wildfires across California. Warmer weather over the past couple of days has hampered containment efforts
Roseville Optometry Business BurglarizedRoseville Police asking for the public's help identifying the two people in these surveillance pictures.
Teacher Arrested for Child Pornography DistributionA Nevada County teacher was arrested for distribution of child pornography. Ethan Lewis, 32, was booked into the Nevada County Jail after turning himself in.
Lake Tahoe: Labor Day Weekend Events and BeyondTahoe South's late-summer of festivals, music, homegrown food and fireworks will ride the hot August wave of indoor and outdoor adventures now through Labor Day
Roseville Ranked #51 for Female Entrepreneurs to Launch BusinessThe city of Roseville, CA was ranked #51 in a new report by data-science group GoodCall as one of the best cities in the U.S. for women entrepreneurs to launch their business.
Mentoring Success Story: Child Advocates of Placer CountyTwo years ago, 17-year-old Nicole had no drive in her life."I was really depressed, but my mom was good at finding resources for me," Nicole says
Johnny Cash Trail Art Experience Master Plan ApprovedThe Folsom City Council unanimously approved a master plan for the Johnny Cash Trail Art Experience
William Jessup University Begins Fall SemesterAt William Jessup University, the start of fall semester doesn't seem official until the annual group photo is taken.
Dominick Casey appointed Roseville Assistant City ManagerRoseville, CA - Acting Roseville City Manager Rob Jenson today appointed Dominick Casey as Assistant City Manager on a permanent basis.
Explosive Device at a Roseville Middle School: Police Seek InformationHomemade explosive devices safely disabled on Roseville middle school campus; no injuries reported.
Rocklin Resident Helps Police Catch Suspected Mail ThiefA vigilant Rocklin citizen observed a male suspect forcing entry into a commercial cluster mail box and steal mail.