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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

$96,000 Raised for Fallen Officers with Help of Dutch Bros.On Wednesday, October 29, Dutch Bros. Coffee owners in the Sacramento area banded together with the community to raise $96,697 to support the families of Sacramento Sheriff Deputy Danny Oliver and Placer County Sheriff's Detective Michael David Davis Jr.

Roseville Police Seek Suspect in Halloween Crime61-year-old Daniel Rosario is being sought by Roseville police in connection with an early-morning burglary, car theft and attempted assault on an officer

Roseville, Rocklin Among Top Choices for Young FamiliesRoseville and Rocklin are ranked among the top 10 places in Northern California for young families according to a NerdWallet report

Kings, Sacramento Community Break Ground on Arena Marking the culmination of a decade-long effort to build a new arena in Sacramento, today the community officially celebrated the groundbreaking of the new downtown Entertainment and Sports Center (ESC).

Roseville Hit and Run Reward OfferedRoseville Crime Stoppers is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of a wrong-way driver who crashed into another car and then fled the scene

Free Alzheimer's Caregivers Workshop at UC DavisOnline registration begins Nov. 4 for the UC Davis Mini Medical School, a series of Saturday classes ideally geared for foresighted middle-agers and novice seniors

Roseville California Crime Brief (10.29.14) Crime brief update report for Roseville, California October 29, 2014.

Halloween Safety TipsCostumes, jack-'o-lanterns, haunted house and scary ghost stories mark this time of year as all kids of all ages enjoy the spirit of Halloween

Memorial for Slain Officer to be Held in RosevilleThe memorial service for Detective Michael Davis, who was killed in the line of duty will be held Tuesday, November 4, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. at Adventure Christian Church

2,400 Volunteers Turn Out in Rocklin for Annual EventMore than 2,400 volunteers packed 520,992 meals for malnourished children around the world at a three-day event at William Jessup University in Rocklin.

Sinking Gas Prices Won't Last The U.S. average price of gasoline ($3.03/gal) continues its slide to levels last seen in December 2010... and today, more than one-half of the nation's gas stations offer regular

Dutch Bros. to Raise Funds for Fallen Officers' Families Dutch Bros. Coffee owners in the Sacramento area are raising funds to support the families of Sacramento Sheriff Deputy Danny Oliver and Placer County Sheriff's Detective Michael David Davis Jr.


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