chapter  15
8 Pages

Facilitated Mirroring: Building Perspective in Clients with Asperger’s Syndrome

ByNan Gray Lester

Odd, quirky, uniquely intelligent, rigid, “difficult,” and terminally uncomfortable in their own skin-these are some of the adjectives routinely used in describing individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS). In my experience as an advocate, university educator, psychological consultant, and parent of a child with Asperger’s Syndrome, a clear understanding of this emerging diagnosis is best realized by making a personal connection to someone known. When lecturing on the subject, I often begin with a painful description of “that kid from school,” the weirdo with no friends, who tripped over his own feet, wore the same ill-fitting clothes day after day, and seemed to connect only with the science teacher. Unstructured times such as recess, lunch, and study hall proved a social nightmare for this poor soul, while his attempts to make social connections often involved inappropriate bursts into conversations of others, only to be met with odd stares and fits of giggles. The opening of his locker promised an avalanche of homework brilliantly completed but never turned in. His annoying, even repulsive, habits ran the gamut from jiggling knees, endless rocking and knuckle-crunching, to chewing the sleeves of his well-worn shirt into sopping shreds. My description never fails to bring flickers of recognition in the eyes of my audience members, which is why I resort to such obvious generalizations. My next questions are, “What became of this child?” “Did he or she find a way to channel his or her talents into a meaningful career?” “What about relationships?”