Friday, April 6, 2012

Autism Article and Website

I found this New York Times article Navigating Love and Autism to be a very in depth and interesting read. It describes the challenges of having autism and being in a relationship. In this case, Jack Robison and Kirsten Lindsmith both have Asperger's Syndrome. What I found to be really interesting was how Jack’s behavior differs from Kirsten’s. Jack is more at ease with social interactions and often helps Kirsten with her social difficulties. Kirsten often speaks in monotone, avoids making eye contact, and does not understand general social cues. Jack is very involved in his particular interests, such as chemical explosives. He set off explosives in the woods because he was trying to experiment for his academic project. His case of Asperger’s may have prohibited his ability to see that setting off explosives in the woods would be lead him to trouble.

I wonder how relationships between other couples with Asperger’s are like? Also, it is interesting to think about how interactions would flow between a couple where one person has Asperger’s and the other does not. I think that certain challenges would arise for the couple, but relationships are a personal matter so it also depends on each individual. Jack and Kirsten accept each other’s quirks and differences and connect by facing their challenges together. When Kirsten kissed Jack for the first time Jack pulled back and told her he did not like kissing. Jack's behavior reveals that he does not like physical touch, which is a behavioral sign of Asperger's. This reminds me of a particular scene in the movie Temple Grandin, which we watched in class last Monday. Temple, an autistic woman who was strongly interested in cattle and science, designed a layout for a more humane handling of cows at a slaughterhouse. When one of the men working at the slaughterhouse recognized how brilliant her design was he tried to hug Temple, but she quickly told him he did not like that. Temple and Jack’s distaste towards physical touch is a common aspect of autism.

Navigating Love and Autism article:

A credible and informative website to find information about autism is: This website offers information about understand autism, behaviors and symptoms, the latest research, treatments, and events. What makes a great resource is the depth of information it provides. When I clicked on the behavior and symptoms tab I found information about diagnosis, assessment, self-injurous behavior, and a list of related disorders. This site is by the Autism Research Institute organization.

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