There are no rules for this disability, only patterns of need.
|“Every problem is a new problem”||“It’s like trying to put a jigsaw together, with no picture and some of the pieces missing.”|
|“I just wish some-one had told me the level of support you can have. At my first university it was like pushing on closed doors. We had to look around and ask. They only told me on the day I left. They expected Asperger syndrome to go around and ask and talk to people. A Fairy Tale World!”|
The new DSM V(American Psychiatric Association, (APA)) diagnostic criteria for autism are due to be published in 2014/15. Asperger syndrome could be subsumed into a single descriptor of ‘autistic disorder’.
The students that this material refers to have received their diagnosis and understanding of the condition before the proposed changes. Therefore Asperger syndrome and the original Triad based description of the condition are preserved for the time being.
It should be noted however that some students at the University have an ‘autism’ label which they prefer. Please note and use the label each student prefers.
Asperger syndromeAsperger syndrome (AS) is a pervasive developmental disorder that exists in an individual before they are born. This means that as the person grows up, the condition influences the whole of their development. It seems to be part of a spectrum of disorders that can be broken down a follows.
|Asperger syndrome||Ability to learn through social interaction and communication is impaired.|
|Autism||AS plus speech and language difficulties. Classic autism (Kanner) – autism plus severe learning difficulties|
Students arrive at University with different ‘labels’. The majority of students in HE have an Asperger syndrome label, so AS will be used throughout.
AS does not impair general intelligence and many people with it are of average or higher intelligence. They can be extremely able people.
AS does mean that anyone with it has a qualitative difference in their thinking style, which tends to set them apart from the majority and has a significant impact on them and their learning.
The impact that AS has on students is invisible but their support needs are as legitimate as are those of students who, for example, might be wheelchair users, have a hearing impairment or, who are partially sighted or blind. We no longer doubt the validity of adjustments and support for these students or for those with Dyslexia or mental health difficulties; why then should those with AS be denied reasonable adjustments that take account of their disability.