". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Finding Kansas

If you or anyone you know is affected by Asperger Syndrome, please take a moment to read this. It is a link to the site of Aaron Likens, a young man with Asperger Syndrome whose recently released book, Finding Kansas, is receiving widespread recognition and critical praise from AS patients, experts, and groups nationwide. The "Kansas" of the title is not a geographical place but rather the place where the AS sufferer feels at home and at ease--in other words, his comfort zone. For Aaron Likens, that place is racing. As he describes it, he can feel paralyzed in certain situations--this is known by AS experts as the "situational handicap"--while functioning quite effectively in others. I guess everyone experiences this to some extent, since we all have places where we are more comfortable than others, but most of us learn methods of handling those uncomfortable environments and getting through them more or less effectively. Those who have Asperger Syndrome, however, can find such situations to be overwhelming and debilitating. The link above explains what this is like more clearly than anything I have ever read, making the point that an Asperger sufferer in his "Kansas" may seem completely relaxed and "normal" in the way he behaves and interacts with others, whereas if you see him at another place and time he may seem like a completely different person.

We became aware of Finding Kansas through the author's father, a former Lutheran pastor who is an acquaintance of my husband's. Our copy is already on the way from Barnes & Noble. As someone who knows and loves several people with Asperger Syndrome, I can't wait to read this book. I'll let you know what I think after I have read it. But if you have any interest in learning more about AS, I heartily recommend visiting Aaron's page. In just a few short paragraphs he provides an insider view of Asperger Syndrome that may help you to understand the Asperger sufferer you know in a way you never have before.

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