Asperger’s syndrome: How ‘Aspie’ diagnosis slipped past world expert Tony Attwood WOW!
How did a world expert in autism miss a diagnosis right under his nose?
That’s the question that Professor Tony Attwood still mulls over and deeply regrets.
The clinical psychologist is recognised as a leading authority in the diagnosis and management of Asperger’s syndrome. But all his skills and research couldn’t help his son Will.
It was only when the 35-year-old ended up with an overwhelming drug addiction and in jail for burglary that Professor Attwood had a sudden insight.
(Isn’t this strange and insulting at the same time? Attwood has made a career out of being a “big fan” of how autistics are a huge “gift” to the world! And yet, he only recognizes his son’s diagnosis after he’s 35 years old and is in jail? Sounds like the type of “neglect” that so many Asperger individuals suffer from in childhood and which is the cause of irreparable lifelong pain.)
While watching family videos of himself and Will as a four-year-old, Professor Attwood noticed an inability to connect with him.
“I was trying to interact with him, but even at the age of four, there was a barrier,” Professor Attwood said.
“[My daughter] Rosie is a teacher of kids with autism and we just turned to each other and said, ‘He’s Asperger’s’!”
Many have since wondered how a world expert on Asperger’s could overlook a diagnosis so close to home. But as Professor Attwood points out, the condition hadn’t even been given a name back in Will’s childhood. (Gee whiz! The “kid” is 35 years old? Did Atwood just ignore him once “autism” became popular as a label – that he helped to promote?)
He fell into the same trap that has plagued parents for years. (But he’s an expert, not an ordinary parent)
“We just thought he was a naughty, ADHD, difficult, emotional kid.”
Autism a gift not something to be ‘fixed’
Professor Attwood runs his clinic from underneath his house on the outskirts of Brisbane. Such is the demand for his skills, his waiting list is fully booked well into the future. He’s been researching autism for nearly four decades and is credited with writing “the bible” on Asperger’s syndrome. (4 decades=40 years > his son is 35.)
Asperger’s, also known as high-functioning autism, is where the brain is wired differently in terms of perceiving, thinking, learning, and relating to the world.
For the rest of the Ooops! We goofed excuses, go to:
From comments on the article / I think this Asperger reveals what it’s truly like for many of us:
Autism cannot be ‘fixed’… since I was told at 21 and was taught to converse; 14 long years I have spent trying to build the skills to attempt to pretend to be human, that is all that can be done. I’ve literally met one employer in the last 20 years of employment who was willing to work with me on my social issues.
Teach your kids to fly under the radar or prepare for them to face a life of un/under-employment and isolation from a poorly educated and often anti-educated populace.
I’ve met dozens of people in my life who were extremely upset by the human looking thing that was not quite human. They were most often upset that I was free and independent.