Thriving in Adulthood with Asperger's Syndrome

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9780984110322: Thriving in Adulthood with Asperger's Syndrome
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The primary ingredient of human relationships is communication which, briefly defined, means "message sent, message received." Ideally what's intended by one is received as intended by the other: frequent failure of this connection is the stuff of society's counseling industry and courtroom disputes. And that's the case for "normal" people. But for those with Asperger's, another layer of difficulty complicates the critical inter-personal transmission.

If trying to connect with the other party in your relationship exasperates you, if you feel they have their wires crossed and answer things you do not ask, if their version of events frequently conflicts with yours, you may find kindred spirits, and probably some answers, in Craig Kendall's new book "Thriving in Adulthood with Asperger's Syndrome: A Guide for Adults and Those Who Love Them."

Kendall's perspective is that of a family member dealing with a condition that's escaped professional scrutiny until recently. What's he's learned comes from the school of hard knocks, so to speak, learned from his own experience and that of others who've struggled with this problem. This background makes Kendall's book practical, down to earth, real world, and encouraging.

The book addresses several general areas. First, officially recognized symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome and examples of how they manifest. Often people self-diagnose based on this alone, and react with either dismay or relief. Kendall discusses the pros and cons of seeking a clinical diagnosis as an adult, and provides sources of further assistance in that quest, if one so chooses.

Aside from that, Kendall gives plain advice to someone with Asperger's in the nuts and bolts of ordinary life making friends and keeping them, attaining and maintaining romance and marriage, navigating interviews and office politics in the workplace, how to decide who to tell about your condition, how much personal information to share, when, and why. To those without Asperger's this is good advice as well, but may come across as what we call "common sense." Even so, hearing it directed to folks with these symptoms is a good model for the rest of us to follow in dealing with loved ones who exhibit Asperger's.

One thing the book lacks, and I hope follows in a second edition, is a final chapter listing the online forums and organizational resources for advocacy and mutual support that he cites throughout the book in anecdotes from contributors. Absent that, I suggest keeping a notebook handy as you read this book, and creating a list of these resources for yourself. Kendall's done a good job of laying groundwork for those who need a network to tap into. --Barbara B. Grigg has an M.A. in Communication from Regent University and has been an adjunct journalism instructor and is Director of Bless the Pets, an outreach to humane society and domestic animal rescue workers

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