IN CELEBRATION of World Autism Day today (Friday), I wanted to draw attention to the needs of a particular subgroup of autism, namely children with Asperger's Syndrome.
Children and young people with Asperger's usually have significant difficulties in socialising with others and making friends. They also like to have routines, even if the routines do not appear to most people to be useful. They can have very restricted interests and can have a difficulty with language development.
Their apparent 'oddness' can lead to teasing, social isolation and possible mental health problems.
Most professionals agree that early diagnosis offers the best outcome.
The most appropriate treatment is a package of measures - depending on the needs of the child - which includes training in social skills, social communication intervention and therapy to reduce the number of obsessive interests.
However, perhaps we should as a society, instead of labelling the difference, celebrate the diversity of human talents and ways of being.
In the world of maths, computing, engineering, cataloguing and science there is great value in a precise eye for details which many people with Asperger's have.
I have written a free and simple factsheet on Asperger's which can be downloaded from the Appleford School website www.apple ford.wilts.sch.uk/ or you can write to Asperger's Simplified Factsheet, Appleford School, Shrewton, Wiltshire SP3 4HL.
DR PETER GARDNER Appleford School