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1. When did you first hear about Aspergers Syndrome?
I first heard about Asperger’s syndrome in the mid-1980’s when fellow clinicians in the UK were starting to use the term ‘Asperger’s syndrome’ from the work of Lorna Wing. I had previously known a number of people with High Functioning Autism, such as my sister-in-law, who has shown remarkable ability over the years and, although she was classically autistic when she was 2-3 years old, she is now within the diagnostic range of Asperger’s syndrome and was married for over 25 years and has a very interesting job relating to her special interest, namely, ferries between England and Scandinavia.
2. Do you think there's any treatments out there that will eliminate the affects of AS?
At this stage, there are no specific treatments, only education, and I hope to encourage people to learn how to relate to others in particular social situations and acquire skills, such as the abilities needed in conversation skills, reading a face, etc, that may camouflage rather than eliminate the effects of Asperger’s syndrome.
3. What do you think of people who call us freaks etc?
I think certain people have a tendency to express their own ignorance – and that is there problem!
4. What do you think of this website www.assupportgrouponline.org ?
Thanks for the link to the website which was fascinating.
5. What is your role in the Aspergers Syndrome research?
My role is to develop new strategies in terms of both of emotions.
6. Do you think behavioral therapy works with AS?
I think behavioural therapy can work if you make modifications to the different way of thinking and understand the circumstances and profile of abilities associated with Asperger’s syndrome. I think it has some very good ideas, but they need to be modified for someone who thinks in a very different way to typical people.
7. Do you think people with AS can live a normal life?
I think that those with Asperger’s syndrome can lead an enjoyable and fulfilling life, but maybe different to others. I would not make a value judgment that one life is better than another.
8. There's a theory that some people believe that people with AS look similar in facial features, do you think that's true or not? Why?
With regard to facial features, one of the things I have noticed is that there can be a smallness and symmetry of features that can be quite appealing to neurotypical people. The reasons for this remain obscure, but it is an interesting phenomenon.
9. Which is the best AS organization that you've come across? What do they do?
Well, I would say the ASSN, which is based in Queensland, and I think they have been the best Asperger’s syndrome support group that I have known. Their website is at www.asperger.asn.au.