K's Reviews > The Asperger Plus Child: How to Identify and Help Children with Asperger Syndrome and Seven Common Co-Existing Conditions

The Asperger Plus Child by George T. Lynn
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Feb 25, 2012

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bookshelves: professionallit, readablenonfiction

I'm uncomfortable assigning a rating to this book. I read it because, although I do have a psychology degree and some clinical experience, I don't know as much as I would like to about Asperger's. When I checked this out of the library I wasn't sure whether this was the book I should educate myself with, and I'm still not 100% sure.

There were a lot of good things about this book, assuming the information is trustworthy. The book discussed criteria for diagnosing Asperger's including formal DSM criteria, some research findings, and the author's observations from working with individuals diagnosed with Asperger's for many years. The book discussed several diagnoses which may co-exist with Asperger's (such as bipolar disorder and nonverbal learning disability), how to tease out their presence, and what the diagnostic picture might look like if these other disorders are present. The book also discussed some other disorders which may be mistaken for Asperger's and some similarities and differences (high-functioning autism, Tourette's, ADD). I appreciated the book's clarity and practicality as well as its many charts and concrete recommendations for diagnosing and assisting these individuals.

Having said that, although I hate to sound like a snob, the book was not published by a company I'm familiar with and the author is not a psychologist or social worker (although the book was apparently edited by a psychologist). The author clearly has a great deal of clinical experience and drew heavily on published research articles according to the bibliography, so maybe this shouldn't matter. At the same time, there were a few minor errors and inconsistencies in his otherwise helpful charts. Additionally, some of his recommendations for teachers struck me more as a wish-list than as realistic interventions in a school setting.

Bottom line: I'd like to get the impressions of someone who knows more than I do. If the book's information is reliable, then it's an extremely useful book. Unfortunately, I don't feel I'm in a position to make that judgment.
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Reading Progress

02/21/2012 page 80

Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by rivka (new)

rivka I have an Aspie kid, but since I haven't even finished reading all the books that have actually been recommended to me, I doubt I'll ever get to this one.

Anyway, I have found talking to online friends who also have Aspie kids (one of whom is himself a textbook Aspie, although he's never been formally diagnosed) far more useful than any of the books.

message 2: by K (new) - rated it 3 stars

K I suspect you're right, Rivka, especially if you're seeking advice as a parent. I'm hoping to start networking more and learning more about Asperger's and other topics that way.

message 3: by rivka (new)

rivka Feel free to pick my brain, anytime. :D

message 4: by K (new) - rated it 3 stars

K Thanks! I may take you up on that.

message 5: by Rachayl (new)

Rachayl Is there a clear line defining who has "high-functioning autism" vs. "PDD" (my kid) vs. "Aspergers"? People seem anxious about the labels, when it seems to me there is just a big spectrum - or rather, a bunch of spectra where any given kid can be on any point on each spectrum.

message 6: by K (new) - rated it 3 stars

K So according to this book, there are some cognitive style differences between high-functioning autism (hfa) and Asperger's, although a lot of researchers lump them together. Overall, Asperger's struck me as less intense than hfa. Kids with hfa, according to the book, are easily overstimulated because they take in the whole picture and have trouble breaking it down whereas Asperger's kids get over focused on the details. PDD seems more like a catch all term for the general category. Goodreads psychologists, please feel free to weigh in! I have no idea how accurate this distinction actually is, especially since not everyone feels there is a distinction.

message 7: by rivka (new)

rivka Speaking as a layperson, PDD-NOS (a label my kid had at one point as well) seems to mean "we know he's on the spectrum, but we haven't figured out where".

As far as HFA v. Asperger's, I would say many of the same traits that make my son a future engineer are also the ones that mark him as an Aspie v. autistic. Sheldon on Big Bang Theory is clearly an Aspie (so is Max on Parenthood, but he has a formal diagnosis), but Abed on Community seems more like an HFA.

message 8: by Rachayl (new)

Rachayl I sort of saw Aspies as independent people who participate regularly (if quirkily) in society, while autistics probably can't function day-to-day without help (though with help they might do pretty nicely). When a kid is young, if it's not clear where they'll end up, you just say PDD. Makes sense to me, I am completely not sure where we'll end up.
So it's a very interesting point: overstimulated vs. focused on details. Maybe my son on Ritalin is Aspie and off Ritalin he's HFA ;)
And interesting comparisons. Though of those characters I only know Sheldon. He's pretty easy to diagnose...

message 9: by rivka (last edited Mar 07, 2012 03:30PM) (new)

rivka Rachayl wrote: "He's pretty easy to diagnose..."

Definitely. And yet the writers denied repeatedly during the first season that he was. I believe they gave up after that.

Ritalin is an ADHD med, not something that should affect a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. However, especially with young children, the two diagnoses are sometimes initially confused. But a child who responds positively (more focused, etc.) to Ritalin is likely ADHD, whether they are also on the autism spectrum or not. (Not always, though.)

While some autistics need outside help to function, HFA's usually do not. Temple Grandin is a well-known example.

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