In our print magazine this month, Hanna Rosin tells the story of her son Jacob's diagnosis with Asperger syndrome, in the context of the psychiatric community's recent change in the definition of the disorder to part of what's now known as autism spectrum disorder.
We received a lot of thoughtful responses from readers who have experience with the disorder in their own lives, themselves or their families, about how the diagnosis has affected them, and what the changes in definition mean to everyone. Here are excerpts from some of those stories.
I remember starting home-based behavioral therapy and that three months after beginning his sessions, Elliott went from speaking approximately 10 words to testing in the low-average range for speech. And I remember the very night that Tom and I tucked him in and told him we loved him, just as we did every night, except that this night he said, "Mom, I love crackers," and how I cried and cried because I knew, based on his true passion for crackers, that he really understood what love meant. (Later, he told us he loved us, too. Priorities, you know.)
—Kammy Kramer; Eagan, Minnesota, USA
Sean and I went to Chick-fil-A for lunch. He sat across from me, smiling, while eating his nuggets and fries. I got the feeling he was trying to cheer me up. He pointed to the play area and said, "Play." I gave him the okay and he played in the playroom looking like all the other kids. You wouldn't be able to tell the difference until you tried to talk to him. I watched him quite amazed that he could do so much by only using his nonverbal skills.