ASPIRES is an on-line resource for spouses and family members of adults diagnosed or suspected to be on the autistic spectrum.  Our approach to one another and towards our "significant others" is directed towards solving problems in our relationship with a spectrum-sitting spouse.

ASPIRES is an e-mail subscription list for individuals with AS, and those who have a parent, spouse, or child with AS.  We share our family and relational experiences, resources and survival tips as well as offer encouragement and hope.  Through sharing, we hope to lighten one another's burdens and find positive solutions to many of the troubling challenges that characterize our relationships and bridge the communication gap that exists in everyday life.

"If there were no change, there would be no butterflies"
Author Unknown
 

The boy whose brain could unlock autism
Autism changed Henry Markram’s family. Now his Intense World theory could transform our
understanding of the condition.
Maia Szalavitz in Matter

 

Tony Atwood speaks at the 2013 Australasian Association of Irlen Consultants (AAIC) Conference, Canberra

The audio and video is weak, but Tony paints a "new" face to AS.

The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum
by Temple Grandin and Richard Panek

Excerpt: Author Temple Grandin Reports On ‘The Autistic Brain’
 

Marriage with Asperger’s Syndrome: 14 Practical Strategies
By Eva Mendes, M.A., Couples’ Counselor and Asperger Syndrome Specialist

Social Blindness App for Asperger's and Autism
A one of a kind application specifically built to help people with Asperger's and Autism better socialize with friends and family.

Social Blindness

Emily Bazelon's Excellent TED Talk on Girls and Autism Made Me Cry
"Our own Emily Bazelon gave a TED talk last week on girls and autism that made me cry. Boys with high functioning autism, she explained, can generally get a toehold into boy-land. They can find playmates who are fixated on a particular video game or train schedule. But a girl with autism just can't find a way to fit in, as she wrote about earlier in this New York Times Magazine story. Girls are expected to be empathetic. They are expected to understand how other people think and feel. A girl with an “empathy deficit” who can’t even make eye contact has a tragically hard time finding her place. So Emily introduces us to Caitlin, who holds a party in the lunchroom and nobody comes... "

Flying under the radar: Girls and Women with Aspergers Syndrome
"The following is an article published in the March 2013 Issue 1 of the Australian Autism Aspergers Network webpage at http://www.aaanetwork.com.au/

They are a non-profit organisation dedicated to providing comprehensive information, support and services to the Autism Community, within Australia and worldwide."

 

Syndrome of our times
Is Asperger's syndrome a distinct neurological disorder or the latest trendy diagnosis? A new
definition has some "ASPIES" worried. By Tim Elliott.

 New Autism Stats released by the CDC

Far From the Tree. Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity
by Andrew Solomon
“Solomon’s hypothesis is that diversity is what unites us all. He writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, multiple severe disabilities, with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are
transgender.” He writes with clarity and reveals insights from parents and those “with” from all facets of the diamond. His writings reinforce the phrase, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” This book is a must read for parents and those “with” along with any one working in the helping profession.

Statement from Michael John Carley on the Newtown, CT shootings

We here at GRASP (and I as the father of two school-age boys), cannot be more saddened and devastated by thnews of the shootings in Newtown, CT. Our thoughts, wishes, prayers, and heaviest hearts go out to the victims and their families…
 

The Audacity of Difference
By Carol Grigg
“The passion for writing this book has been driven by my concerns and grief over what difference provokes in us
; the nature of response that difference seems to evoke from within the human soul; responses that show us up for what we truly are, our true colors. Hence, the “audacity” of difference.”

 

Aspia's Handbook for Partner's Support

By Carol Grigg

 

Critic calls American Psychiatric Assoc. approval of DSM-V “a sad day for psychiatry”
Dr. Allen Frances writes that the American Psychiatric Association approval of the 5th edition of  the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual this past weekend marks “a sad day for psychiatry.“ Frances, psychiatry professor emeritus at Duke, chaired the DSM-4 task force.

 

 Research study for Adults with AS/HFA

Adults with Asperger’s syndrome (AS) and high functioning autism (HFA) often experience difficulties obtaining and keeping gainful employment despite their potential for work. Moreover, unemployment rates for adults with Autism have been estimated to be as high as 80%. Because work is often a gateway to independence and there are numerous negative health consequences attributed to unemployment (e.g., depression, anxiety, and chronic illnesses), employment among adults with AS and HFA is of particular concern from both an occupational therapy and public health standpoint.

Learning to love with Asperger syndrome
It’s not easy living with a man who will only say ‘I love you’ once a day, max.
by Julia McKinnell

 

ASPIRES-Relationships Link of Facebook
ASPIRES is a private group and no way endorses this Face Book page. It has no affiliation with our group or vision. Thank you! ...Linda Newland
 

Affective Deprivation Disorder: Does it Constitute a Relational Disorder?
By Harriet F. Simons Ph.D, Jason R. Thompson

Alexithymic Parenting: The Impacts on Children
By Jason Thompson
 

Coping With a Partner's Asperger's Syndrome
Understanding your partner with Asperger's syndrome can be difficult or seemingly impossible at times. Making better connections can lead to a happier, healthier relationship.

New Research Project
James E. Gilliam, Ph.D., author of the Gilliam Asperger’s Disorder Scale and the Gilliam Autism Rating Scale is conducting research on children who have Asperger’s Disorder or High Functioning Autism. The research involves completing a survey on the characteristics of children who have
this disorder. Dr. Gilliam will compensate people who participate in this research. For additional information, go to: http://www.jamesegilliam.net  Then click on the link "Asperger’s Research." To go directly to the survey, click on the following link: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/944070/Gilliam-Asperger-s-Disorder-Scale-2
 

We are not all on the spectrum now
We need a more robust definition of autism, otherwise we risk it losing all sense as a diagnosis.

This is the text of a speech that was given at the conference ‘Autism, Ethics and the Good Life’, held at the Royal Society in London on 2 April 2012 (World Autism Awareness Day).

 

Why Women With Autism Are Invisible

The CDC just reported that while 1 in 54 boys are diagnosed with autism, only 1 in 252 girls are. Some advocates say women and girls with the disorder just aren't getting the help they need.

 

Thinking Smarter About People Who Think Different

One of the forthcoming books I’m most excited about is Steve Silberman’s NeuroTribes: A smarter way of thinking about people who think differently. Like Oliver Sacks (and Steve has written the definitive profile of the neurologist), Steve is an incredibly sensitive observer of others. (He’s also a gifted writer and absurdly nice guy.) Steve isn’tinterested in mere description of a condition – he wants to understand how his subjects see the world, immersing himself in their pleasures, passions and struggles.

 

The Partner's Guide to Asperger Syndrome
Susan J. Moreno, Marci Wheeler and Kealah Parkinson
Foreword by Tony Attwood
A must read for all non spectrum (NS) partners of AS men. "Adults with Asperger Syndrome (AS)
often have difficulties acquiring relationship skills due to the defining characteristics of the syndrome, experiences with peers during childhood and adolescence, and the expectations of their partners. However, an increasing number do go on to achieve happy and successful long-term relationships with non-spectrum (NS) partners".  ...Read excerpts

A Message from GRASP
 

Husband David Finch writes 'The Journal of Best Practices' to save his marriage…
Even if you're an ordinary "neurotypical," there are plenty of good reasons to read David Finch's "The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband." ...excerpts.  Dave is also the author of "Asperger’s: Somewhere Inside, a Path to Empathy," which led to this book.

There's something different about dad
We've heard of the difficulties faced by parents trying to cope with Asperger syndrome in children but it's tough too being the child of an Asperger parent.
Michael Fitzgerald, who recently retired from his post as the first professor of child and adolescent psychiatry in Ireland at Trinity College offers his perspective.

Book Review
“Something Different about Dad”
How to Live with your Asperger’s Parent
By Roger N. Meyer

A Powerful Identity, a Vanishing Diagnosis
  It is one of the most intriguing labels in psychiatry. Children with Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism, are socially awkward and often physically clumsy, but many are verbal prodigies, speaking in complex sentences at early ages, reading newspapers fluently by age 5 or 6 and acquiring expertise in some preferred topic — stegosaurs, clipper ships, Interstate highways — that will astonish adults and bore their playmates to tears. In recent years, this once obscure diagnosis, given to more than four times as many boys as girls, has become increasingly common. Much of the growing prevalence of autism, which now affects about 1 percent of American children, according to federal data, can be attributed to Asperger’s and other mild forms of the disorder. And Asperger’s has exploded into popular culture through books and films depicting it as the realm of brilliant nerds and savant like geniuses.

Asperger Marriage: Viewing Partnerships Through a Different Lens
Aspergers Syndrome (AS) is a neurobiological condition on the higher-functioning end of the autism spectrum. Across individuals, there is wide variation of AS traits, of how each person experiences their neurology, and how AS evolves as they age. Shore (2003), a member and President Emeritus of the Asperger’s Association of New England (AANE) Board of Directors has said, “When you meet one individual with Asperger Syndrome, you have met one individual with Asperger Syndrome.” Marriages or partnerships with a person with AS are often very challenging, with mental health consequences for both members of the couple, for their children, and for their larger family systems. In this paper we will share insights on the complexities of these partnerships with hope that this information will help and encourage other clinicians to better understand and support people in these relationships, whether working with individuals, couples, families, or groups. Our insights come from our professional experience with individuals and with groups for the partners of men with AS at AANE, along with review of the literature on AS. 

A GREAT article for children, siblings, partner's and spouses connected to AS
 Growing up in an Asperger Family
by Maxine Aston
View as HTML or download as a PDF.


ASPIRES Salutes Ron Hedgcock's New Book

Confessions of an Unashamed Asperger

Confessions of an Unashamed Asperger
  Foreword by Professor Tony Attwood.
"I have learned a great deal from Ron Hedgcock. Those who have attended my seminars
will have heard several of his quotations describing his experiences and insights into Asperger’s Syndrome. He is now in his 70s, having lived with three wives; and has had a successful career as an actor. He also adores cats, who are now his family and friends. His autobiography is unusual in that it covers seven decades and is one of the first to describe the aging process and Asperger’s Syndrome. He has a wicked sense of humour; and in describing his thoughts, emotions and experiences, Ron is forthright and at times confronting. His descriptions are authentic and will be endorsed by other adults who have the Syndrome. His self-analysis is extremely interesting for clinicians, but his explanations will also be particularly valuable for the partners of those who have similar characteristics, and for family member who are trying to understand a father or grandfather. Ron is a wise elder in the ‘tribe’ of people with AS; and his eloquent autobiography will be a source of explanation and insight for those who are discovering and exploring the world as perceived and experienced by someone who has Asperger’s Syndrome."  Tony Atwood

bullet How can an autie be an actor?  I asked veteran Aussie actor, Ron Hedgcock.

 

                        Business for Aspies   Business for Aspies:  42 Best Practices for Using Asperger Syndrome Traits at Work SuccessfullyBy Ashley Stanford.  "Most workplaces are a frenzied swirl of social interaction - between employees and bosses, customers and clients, and anyone else present. People with a mental framework better suited to non-social tasks can often be overlooked and underutilised in such an environment, but this book explains exactly how those with Asperger Syndrome can get their talents recognised and become successful and indispensable employees."

The Asperger Couple's WorkbookThe Asperger Couple's Workbook

Practical Advice and Activities for Couples and Counsellors

 

Asperger Syndrome (AS) can affect some of the fundamental ingredients required to make a relationship work, such as emotional empathy and communication. Maxine Aston, author of Aspergers in Love, has created this workbook to help couples where one of the partners has Asperger Syndrome deal with the difficulties that may arise in their relationship.

Maxine Aston

 

22 Things a Woman Must Know

22 Things a Woman Must Know

If She Loves a Man with Asperger's Syndrome

Rudy Simone
Foreword by
Maxine Aston

Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome

Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome:

Going over the Edge?


Practical Steps to Saving You and   Your Relationship

Kathy J.Marshack, Ph.D.; Foreword by Stephen Shore, Ed.D

Connecting With Your Asperger Partner

 

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"We each have our own way of living in the world, together we are like a symphony.
Some are the melody, some are the rhythm, some are the harmony
It all blends together, we are like a symphony, and each part is crucial.
We all contribute to the song of life."
...Sondra Williams

We might not always agree; but TOGETHER we will make a difference.

 

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