The Asperger Parent Network of Arizona serves families raising children affected by Asperger Syndrome and related autism spectrum disorders K-12 and beyond into adulthood. Our supports and services include:
- Medical treatment referrals – biomedical DAN! And conventional
- Education advocacy – 504 and IEPs, SMART goals, classroom observations, functional behavioral assessments at competitive rates
- Transition services (middle to high school, high school to college, college to the workplace)
- 24/7 online assistance
- Monthly meetings hosting knowledgeable and respected speakers
- Workshops and seminars
- Family/Life Coaching – fee based
- Lending library – current texts and DVDs
APN is also a valuable resource for educators! We offer:
- Low cost/no cost tips, techniques and strategies for classroom success
- On campus trainings – autism/Asperger awareness
- Teaching manuals on request
Asperger’s is a neurobiological disorder, centered in the brain, which is affecting 1 in 100 children in North America. It should not be misconstrued as an emotional disorder or a behavioral problem per se. It affects individuals in the development of their social and communication skills; it can affect their sensory functioning, fine and gross motor skills, sense of timing and organizational abilities. Because Asperger’s Disorder shares some of the same diagnostic criteria as autism, it is often referred to as an “ autism spectrum disorder”. Most noticeably the criteria for Asperger’s does not include early onset communication impairments, as does the criteria for autism, but there are other differences as well. [ It may be noted that AS individual often do have late language development but manage to master this skill by the time they reach 4 to 5 years of age].
The criteria for Asperger’s Disorder can be found in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 4th edition published in 1994. This also happens to be the first year Asperger’s Disorder entered into the manual, despite its original founding by Dr. Hans Asperger in 1934. The World Health Organization has also published criteria for Asperger’s (1992). A diagnosis of Asperger’s is based on skilled observation of the individual, multiple testing and interaction with them and their developmental history.
Asperger’s is sometimes referred to as a “hidden disability” because those affected by it often can present as typically functioning and very bright. However, it is well documented that individuals with AS tend to excel within narrow bands of personal focus. The tendency to “specialize” in one arena to the exclusion of other interests is prevalent.
Regarding students with Asperger’s or related disorders (PDD, PDD-NOS) they usually require extra supports and understanding of their needs in order to succeed. They are often capable of doing very well as long as their challenges are not ignored. If they are NOT given the extra attention they require, their symptoms can worsen to the point of requiring urgent care. (See Steps in the Escalation of Stress in Asperger Syndrome chart in the book Asperger’s Syndrome: A Practical Guide for Teachers by Cumine, Leach and Stevenson).