Sarah Norman, ’19
Asperger’s Syndrome is a neurological disorder which can cause someone to have difficulties in learning or making friends. It is a developmental disorder on the autism spectrum. The cause of Asperger’s is currently unknown, but scientists think that it is genetic.
The prevelance of Asperger’s is not well known. Genetics Home Reference reports that cases can go from 1 in 250 to 1 in 5,000 children. Three or four times more boys are affected than girls.
Asperger’s has hit home for Mrs. Lenora Hutt, a new art teacher here at the high school. Her daughter, Victoria Hutt (’14) ,was diagnosed at age nine with Asperger’s. “Yes, (it’s hard) because no one else, outside of school, understands. She doesn’t always pick up on social cues, which can be difficult at times,” Mrs. Hutt stated. One frustration she had with her daughter’s school was that you sometimes only get rewarded for your final product, and not your effort. For example, if her daughter failed a test because she only finished half of it, Mrs. Hutt knows that Victoria tried her hardest, but she may not have got enough credit for it, even with her special accommodations. Another struggle Mrs. Hutt had was learning to accept Victoria’s struggles, and not try to help all the time. Both she and Victoria had to learn to do some things on their own.
“I’ve always had some difficulties, but one of the major problems I had was reading,” said Victoria. On the other hand, she was very good at math and it was her favorite subject. She says that she learned best while out in the hallway, away from other people and distractions. She never had trouble making friends, and no one thought of her any differently, despite her disorder.
Mr. Lemieux, Special Education Department Chair, recognizes the challenges of Asperger’s. “At times it may be a little difficult to teach these kinds of kids, but it is definitely do-able once you figure out all of the accommodations the students need to learn properly,” he said. “You can easily assist their learning by staying in communication, that really helps.” He emphasizes the need that all accommodations are being met, and the student should definitely be getting the help they need.
Asperger’s syndrome is a serious problem, but with the right help and motivation, everyone with this syndrome can learn just like someone without it.