Asperger’s Specialist Woodbridge VA
Behavorial Intervention, Education, Marriage & Family Counseling, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Private School (Multi-disability), Speech Therapy
Kindergarten,1-5 Grade,6-8 Grade,9-10 Grade,11-12 Grade
Education, Marriage & Family Counseling, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Respite/Childcare/Babysitting, Speech Therapy, Support Organization, Therapy Providers, Training/Seminars
ABA, Therapy Services, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy, Training/Seminars
Mental Health Professional, Psychologist
Auditory Integration Therapy, Music Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Sensory Integration, Social Skills Training
1-5 Grade,11-12 Grade,6-8 Grade,9-10 Grade,Kindergarten,Preschool
ABA, Therapy Services, Behavior Assessment, Behavorial Intervention, Early Intervention, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Social Skills Training, Speech Therapy, Training/Seminars, Verbal Behavior
Mental Health Professional, Osteopath (DO)
Mental Health Professional, Psychologist
Isolated by Chaos
By Catherine Guthrie
Lisa Everitt first noticed something awry with her son, Mark, when he turned three. An active and happy infant, he was becoming anxious and depressed. Doctors fingered Everitt’s looming divorce as the source of her son’s moodiness, but the Colorado mom suspected a more profound problem.
Her fear was confirmed when Mark started first grade. Overwhelmed by the chaos of the classroom, she says, he spent much of his time lying on the floor with his hands clapped over his ears. Not knowing where to turn for help, Everitt found herself immersed in a maze of medical jargon and misdiagnoses. “A string of people gave Mark the diagnosis du jour,” she says. “Everyone had an idea of what was wrong with him, and no two people agreed.” Over the next few years, she and Mark hopscotched from one doctor’s office to another. Then, when Mark was in fifth grade, a cognitive behavioral therapist correctly diagnosed him with Asperger’s syndrome. For the first time, Everitt felt like someone understood what she and Mark had been going through. “It was a huge relief,” she says.
Today, Mark is a sophomore in high school and learning what it means to be a typical 16-year-old boy. Like most children with Asperger’s, Mark is bright and articulate but socially awkward. “It’s never the academic stuff that’s a struggle for him,” says Everitt. “It’s more basic than that.” For instance, in the elementary school cafeteria, Mark would stuff his mouth full of food until he literally couldn’t swallow. “It was like he never learned how to chew with his back teeth. No one would sit with him at lunch because he shoved food into his mouth until he choked,” Everitt says. An occupational therapist spent three years teaching Mark how to chew his food.
But as soon as one problem resolves, another springs up to take its place. His Asperger’s makes Mark stand out from the crowd at an age when standing out isn’t cool. “Like many kids with Asperger’s, he’s just not interested in what other people think,” says Everitt. “That can be a good thing when people snub him or tease him,” but it can also be socially isolating.
Named after Hans Asperger, the Austrian pediatrician who identified the condition in 1944, Asperger’s syndrome falls on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum. Autism spectrum disorders is an umbrella term covering a host of disorders, including classic autistic disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder–not otherwise specified. Unlike kids with classic autism—often first signaled by a language delay—those with Asperger’s hone their language skills early and develop average or above-average intelligence. Mark began talking at 8 months and spoke in complete sentences before his first birthday.
Another clue of Asperger’s is a child’s near-obsession with a singular topic, such as Civil War battles or trading cards. Over the years, Mark’s obsessive tendencies have taken different shapes. Where once it was...
Author: Catherine Guthrie
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