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Article on 'Aspergals' in Telegraph

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[Mod note: these three posts appeared within minutes of each other, so I've merged them. Not come out as I'd envisaged, but still understandable I think - Jaded]


Stella 63



I am completely incapable of doing a link to the newspaper but the Telegraph ran a very good article today focussing on women diagnosed with AS - I think it was pushing a book that has been written - but well worth looking at.


Stella xx

Call Me Jaded:

New book by Rudy Simone in the Telegraph



This article appears in the Telegraph today.




Perhaps people might like to comment.



Edited by call me jaded

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Thanks for the link - I'm going to get hold of this book. I've read Asperger's and Girls which was very interesting but very Americanised - hopefully this one will be more readable for my daughter.


Update - just put it on reserve at the local library. I'll let you know what I think of it once I've read it.

Edited by Sammysnake

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I wasn't aware there was a 'suspected' link between AS and smoking in pregnancy - is this something new?

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I wasn't aware there was a 'suspected' link between AS and smoking in pregnancy - is this something new?






We've known about the risks of smoking whilst pregnant for some time. It's not surprising that some of these children are autistic.

But the comment about the causes of AS in the Telegraph article doesn't actually make sense. I wonder if it has been cut-and-pasted rather hastily.



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I've read Asperger's and Girls which was very interesting but very Americanised

I felt the same about it myself - here are some notes I made after reading it:


Tony Attwood, 'The patterns of abilities and development of girls with Asperger's syndrome'

p.3: "girls with AS are often 'mothered' by other girls" ... no way!

p.5: "Acting can subsequently become a successful career option" ... but surely you need far more than a prodigious memory to act? Are ASDs over-represented at drama schools? Should the latter be offering more in the way of mentoring, career guidance or whatever?

p.6: AS girls are, we are told, entranced by the intrinsic rhythm of Shakespeare and poetry and "some develop their writing skills ... to become successful academics in English literature." Again, there would seem to me to be a need for more than an ear for rhythm to become an academic.

And no, "unusual perception and reasoning" is not confined to Aspies, nor is it intrinsic to their condition.


Sheila Wagner, 'Educating the female student with Asperger's'

p.20: So struggling with maths is a symptom of AS, is it?

p.22f: Still don't understand this peer programming malarkey. If it's about ordering pupils (in the main, NTs) to befriend the AS pupils, I can't see how that will work. Surely more profitable to accept that people will befriend whom they want to befriend (otherwise they wouldn't be friends), and the best you can do is eliminate all school activities which involved choosing partners. I.e. appoint partners for PE and project work, have a disco instead of a prom, and adopt zero tolerance to saving places. (None of the above are addressed by SW, oddly enough...) And another thing ... what consolation are stage-managed, teacher-led acquaintances to the more savvy AS teenager who is only too aware that they are no substitute for real friendships? SW states as a fact that "Cliques [among girls] form rapidly and spread often." If this is a given, how can peer programming change human nature? In the words of somebody's signature on Aspie For Freedom: "You can't change what is natural."

p.24: Pre-teaching of content - where do I begin ... I can only see negatives / objections: How do you find the time for this extra coaching - aren't school timetables full enough as they are? Wouldn't it make classroom lessons too easy, encourage the AS girl to think "Heard this all before, don't need to pay attention" and switch off? At best she might miss out on important announcements about homework assignments or field trips; at worst she might develop a habit of poor concentration which might take years to quit. Far from being "viewed in a better light [by her peers]", surely she'd be regarded as a swot or a teacher's pet? And if this extra coaching gets her a higher grade than she would otherwise have received - say A instead of B - and she ends up in a higher ability stream or a certain university course or career training programme, how will she then be able to cope without the spoon-feeding? Or are we to assume that anyone with Asperger's can play the disability card throughout their lives and always claim extra coaching and supervision?

Why should it be considered a great loss if an Aspie can't get into university? Surely it's more important that she'd provided with careers advice and support appropriate to her ability - she could still go to university as a mature student, with some years of work experience behind her. Obviously I'm biased, because what I missed out on most of all at school and university was work experience - extra academic coaching is no substitute for that.

The only version of pre-teaching I could support would be if the teacher put the contents of her lessons on a website which pupils could access if they hadn't been able to follow during the classroom environment. But this should be accessible to all pupils, not just "special needs" cases. Other than that, encourage the Aspie pupil to develop her own coping mechanisms - point her in the direction of the library, brief her as to what questions are appropriate. Is that so hard to do?

p.25: I can certainly see the attraction of reduced homework assignments, just as I can also see the attraction of jumping the lunch queue and bunking off PE. But isn't there a danger of being inadequately prepared for the next stage in life?

p.29: "Typical students alone are usually self-conscious, embarrassed or highly amused at the [sex education] provided and if they ask questions, they often do so to gain a reaction from their peers." Is this a misprint? If a student is alone, then there aren't any peers around, by definition - or am I missing something?


Lisa Iland, 'Girl to girl: advice on friendship, bullying and fitting in'

p.40: Is this stuff about "levels of popularity" w.r.t. dating really true? I've read opposing advice on at least one problem page. Anglo-American cultural differences?

pp50-1: Can't see the point of boning up on MTV and celebrity gossip. Accumulating information about a topic parrot-fashion is no substitute for a genuine interest at a level that an NT would deem appropriate. Maybe things are very different today, but among my peers the only gossip they were into was about their own social circles e.g. what X said to Y when A saw P snog Q at B's party. You can only contribute to said conversations if you've attended said parties, but you only get invited to said parties (or at the very least tipped off) if you're in the "in" crowd. Catch-22.


Jennifer McIlwee Myers, 'Aspie dos and don'ts: dating, relationships and marriage'

JMM protests against the assumption that "... marriage is the best goal for everybody, especially everybody between the ages of twenty and forty". And yet she got married at 28!

p.92: "No one goes to singles activities for the actual activity." And yet I for one am frustrated at the tiny window of opportunity for actual socializing. Is this just another example of Anglo-American cultural differences?

p.95: JMM's use of the present tense is somewhat confusing coming from a woman married for 12 years. This is in the context of advice for dealing with rejection: "One, always be aware that rejection is not a real setback ... Two, I use a somewhat cognitive-behavioural approach to deal with the depression and general crankiness that can follow rejection."

p.95: "the best tools that a girl with AS has are logic and facts." How often have I been accused of over-intellectualizing my situation? And how can you apply logic when you don't know the facts (as in the reason why I've never had a relationship)?

p.98: In a roundabout way, JMM says that she had difficulty attracting men in her teens and 20s - but she became aware of the reason why when she was happily married and so this problem had somehow gone away of its own accord. So what advice is there for 30somethings who still don't attract? Why don't I attract even the users?

p.105: "Girls with AS need lots of factual information, rationally put, about everything from how to turn down a date..." Oh yes!

p.106: This is assuming a lot, that the people you meet at a special interest group will become your friends, and that they will go so far as introducing you to their extended family members. What if your level of acquaintance is still stuck on "How's the job?" and "What was your name again?" snatched in the all-too-brief coffee break?

p.107: Not all volunteer supervisors are willing or obliged to give "clear but kind feedback". And what if JMM's special interests had not been "Fred Astaire movies and old-time radio shows" but something more contemporary?


Ruth Snyder, 'Maternal instincts in Asperger's syndrome'

Where were RS's common special interests with the men who entered her life?

p.124: "I had no problem finding dates or men wanting to date me." Lucky cow!

p.127: How did RS manage to marry someone given her track record of "immediately all or nothing" (p.124)?

p.130: "I had no one helping me with career choices; there were no services that could help me to understand or decided what I needed to do in life ..."

"Working on a career was much easier compared to working on relationships. There were steps, routes, degrees, and road maps to where I wanted to go." Make up your mind!!

p.132: "Even though I had given up on relationships, they did not give up on me." What's her secret?

p.134: What sort of Aspie mum laughs at her son's sporting inability?

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