Saturday, August 16, 2008

questions people ask...

Does Michael Phelps have Asperger's? I've heard this question more then once today. I even asked it myself as I listened to an interview his mother gave. But what put me over the edge was when someone asked the same question over on Yahoo! Answers and the dearth of uneducated responses, ("how can he like have that? he talks in interviews... he interacts with people") prompted me to jump out of my usually quiet shell and give a somewhat more educated response. I've copied it below, in case anyone else may be interested...

You know, I heard the interview with his mother and I thought the same thing. The way she described how he focuses and what happens to him psychologically when he is in the pool is very reminiscent of how those with Asperger's interact. My 19 year old son was diagnosed with ADHD back in the 90s when it was the diagnosis du jour (and the same time Phelps would have been diagnosed). I never felt that he was properly diagnosed, but there was never a better explanation for his behavior. Fast forward to today, my youngest son has severe autism. I have learned tons about both autism and Asperger's through my volunteer work with the Autism Society of America. Now I am convinced that my oldest son actually has Asperger's, not ADHD, even though it was never diagnosed.

For those of you who made some uninformed statements, let me tell you a little about kids with Asperger's. They are usually smart, very smart. They can hold conversations, in fact they can talk & talk & talk if the subject interests them. They do make eye contact, if they chose to. They have problems with social skills, they are never quite sure how to appropriately interact with their peers and are often bullied throughout adolescence. They are often dyslexic. They tend to hyper-focus, find a topic that interests them and then become experts on it, the best at it, pioneers in their field. Most of them go to college, get married and have families. Many of them work in the tech sector or in other highly involved, complex fields.

I don't know if Michael Phelps has Asperger's or not. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he did, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter. He is an amazing young man who has done amazing things and has made an entire nation stand up and cheer. Which lots of people with Aspeger's have done in the past & will continue to do in the future.

Learn more about Asperger's here: http://www.aspergers.com/
See a list of famous people with Asperger's or Autism Spectrum Disorder here:
http://www.geocities.com/richardg_uk/famousac.html





5 comments:

Rantz said...

Thanks happyneedle - if only there was a way to get the uneducated to read this post.

MsLindz said...

Thanks for sharing this! I'm completely convinced that my ex-bf's son has Asperger's. The kid has had every other diagnosis under the sun (including bi-polar, depression, ADD, ADHD, and so on), but when I started looking into his behavior and came across Asperger's, it fit to a T. All the symptoms completely described him and I know in my gut this would be the correct diagnosis. At the time, I approached the subject very carefully with the bf (at the time, now ex) because he's always very over protective of his son. He said at first that it fit, even talked to his parents about it and the agreed completely with that being the "problem", but very quickly after that it was dropped and I was attacked any time I brought it up after that. I think that if he bothered to get his son diagnosed, it would really improve their relationship, but that's not my problem to deal with any longer. He's a sweet kid and wicked smart. I think he'll go far and hope that he does! Anyhow, just wanted to share my story with you :o)

tata said...

Well said. Kudos for standing up to state some facts.

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?

Anonymous said...

Super write-up! Could you follow-up on this topic?