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Kathy Marshack News

Asperger Love - Is It Really Love?

Thursday, March 14, 2013


If you are in a relationship with someone with Asperger Syndrome, I have no doubt that at some point you asked yourself, "Is this really love?" The reason why you may ask yourself this is because how do you know if you are loved if you partner never communicates that with you, or shows your, or has empathy? This leads to other perplexing questions like: How do you know if your love is received or understood by them? Can you be sure that your AS partner feels love the same way you do? Does it even matter? 


How can a relationship survive when the issue of love is questioned? This is such a delicate and sensitive subject that many will think about it, but will never discuss it. On March 16, 2013, Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD Support Group will meet to discuss this issue. There is no easy answer or quick fix, but hopefully by having open and honest discussion can lead to a level of understanding that only those in this situation can understand. The meeting will be held in Portland, Oregon. If you do not live in the Portland area, please visit our webpage and become a member. The message boards are already discussing this topic online. We would love to hear your thoughts. 


For more on navigating through an Asperger relationship, pick up your own personal copy of my book - Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge

Autism and Context Blindness

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Have you heard the term "context blindness?" Context blindness is something that happens with Asperger Syndrome. For most people, context is a part of life. Everything is relative and depends on the context. For someone with Asperger's, life is absolute – especially in regard to social interaction. Context blindness hinders an individual from being sensitive and aware of the feelings of others.


Dr. Peter Vermeulen discusses context blindness is his new book, Autism as Context Blindness. He brilliantly describes how the autistic brain works and includes practical exercises to help improve in the area of context blindness. I highly recommend picking up your own personal copy. Click here to learn more aboutAutism as Context Blindness.


Context blindness will also be discussed at the AAPC Spring 2013 Autism Conference. There are three locations: Chicago, Salt Lake City, and Phoenix. Click here to learn more about how to attend. 

Where to Find Empathy in an Asperger Relationship

Monday, February 04, 2013


As promised, empathy in Asperger relationships is up for discussion again. On February 16, 2013, Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Support Group will be meeting to discuss - "Empathy Explains It All." I find myself talking about this topic again and again because it explains much about the mismatch in communication between someone with Asperger Syndrome and their Neuro-Typical partner.


 Why is empathy so important in relationships? Empathy is the ability to connect and know where the other is coming from at the same time that you know where you are coming from as well.  You don't have to agree with the other person to have empathy. You don't have to even be terribly interested in their interests. When you listen and are listened to...with empathy...a powerful connection occurs. It is the interpersonal world of connectedness that makes us feel loved and satisfied or even just okay. Empathy is so powerful that even research shows that a doctor who treats his patients with empathy will have better results.   


Empathy is usually lacking in an Asperger relationship. This can cause deep emotional pain for their NT partner. I chose this topic for the upcoming Meetup so we can listen to one another and empathize. Maybe empathy is lacking in the marriage, but you can find empathy amongst others who are dealing with a similar problem. Please join us for this important discussion whether it be in person or online.    


Visit Asperger Syndrome Support for more information. My book, Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going over the Edge? is available for purchase. It is a practical guide for a Neuro-Typical individual in an Asperger relationship. 

 


New Study Investigates Autism Recovery

Thursday, January 24, 2013


The world of autism, diagnosis and recovery are constantly changing, shifting and evolving. New studies and research are changing the face of what we know autism to be. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry published a study entitled "Optimal outcome in individuals with a history of autism" that shows the beginning of a real shift in view of autism.    


The study showed that in rare cases, a minority of individuals will lose the diagnosis due to recovery from symptoms. The reasons for such a recovery is unknown. It could be biological or behavioral patterns. At this point that is not known. Researchers are not quick to claim a cure all. They are stressing that this is rare, but significant enough to report. So, beware of false hope. 


What we do know if this – early diagnosis and behavioral therapy are critical when it comes to autism. Regardless of full recovery, those are constants in assisting individuals with autism. (To read more about this study, read - Some with Autism Diagnosis Can Recover Symptoms, Study Shows.)

Joseph Sheppard – An Autistic Hero

Monday, January 07, 2013


A few months ago, I blogged about Joseph Sheppard. Joseph was particularly inspiring. He was diagnosed with a high functioning form of autism in his forties. Instead of viewing this as a crutch, he looked at his diagnosis as liberating, referring to it as his "inner splendor." I came across another article on CNN.com about Joseph with an update on what he has been doing in behalf of others with autism. (Read With autism, no longer invisible   


Sheppard is the co-director of Centre for Autism Research, Technology and Education (CARTe), along with Jim Tanaka, psychology professor at the University of Victoria. CARTe is involved in research and development of technology to improve social and emotional skills for children and adults with ASD. They are currently testing games for children to assist with facial recognition and interpretation. Tanaka refers to Joseph as "the visionary of our center."   


Joseph is also working on a publication called "Autism's Own Journal." This is set to be published in April 2013 and will include fictional and non-fictional stories about autism written by those with autism. This is probably just the beginning of the inspired work that Joseph Sheppard will do in his lifetime. The reason I believe him to be a hero is the fact that he wants to bring out the best in an autistic individual without looking to change them. What a powerful message!   


For more information about Asperger Syndrome - Visit Asperger Syndrome Frequently Asked Questions.  

New Location Added for Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD

Monday, December 31, 2012


Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD Support Group continues to grow. There are three locations in Oregon: Eastside Portland, Westside Portland, and Beaverton. I am happy to announce that we are moving to California!    


This Meetup will be based in the Los Angeles area, but will rotate to different locations since LA County is so large. The first Meetup will be held in Pasadena on January 26, 2013. The following month, the Meetup will be in Redondo Beach. 


If you are interested in attending, please visit the Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD webpage. Don't forget you can also become an online member if there are no meetings in your local area.


I look forward to hearing about the continued success of this group! Click here to read about how to find the right support group for you and your needs. 

Recommendations from Family and Partners of Adults with ASD

Friday, December 14, 2012


Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD Support Group was a dream that I had for a long time and it became a reality in 2009. We currently have 474 online members including many from other countries. Our monthly support group meetings are going strong as well as our online message board discussion groups. The stories that pour in are amazing. They are from real people, living a real life as family or partners of an adult with Asperger Syndrome.    


Members online have been sharing resources that they have personally found helpful in regard to being in a relationship with an Aspie. I have decided to share these recommendations through my blog. Who better else to share what works than those who are dealing with it day in and day out?   


I have compiled a few of the recommended resources to share:   


Books


Alone Together: Making an Asperger Marriage Work by Katrin Bentley   

No Team Player by Judith Newton   

The Asperger Couples Workbook: Practical Advice and Activities for Couples and Counselors by Maxine Aston   


Websites   

  

Prosper with Aspergers: Autism Facts and Solutions   


The Neurotypical Site   


If you have any recommendations for books, websites, and other Asperger resources, become a member of the Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD online support group. I will continue to post these recommendations regularly on my blog. Thank you for your continued support.   


If you live in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area, please join us in person on January 19, 2013 for a discussion on this topic - Should I give up?   


Click here to read additional Asperger Syndrome Recommended Links

How Changes in New DSM-5 Impact Those with Asperger Syndrome

Thursday, December 06, 2012


The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is making changes to the criteria that psychiatrists use to diagnosis mental disorders. The DSM-IV edition uses Classic Autism, Asperger Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder as diagnoses.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, the "criteria will incorporate several diagnoses from DSM-IV including Autistic Disorder, Asperger's Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (not otherwise specified) into the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder for DSM-5 to help more accurately and consistently diagnose children with autism." If an individual would have previously been diagnosed as having Asperger Syndrome, they would now be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The American Psychiatric Associate board of trustees has approved the changes and they will go into effect on May 2013. (For more information, read Psychiatric Association Approves Changes to Diagnostic Manual)

These new revisions will impact the lives of many. Regardless of the diagnosis, Asperger Syndrome does not disappear. However, many Aspies and their loved ones are worried by this adjustment. Since they do not view themselves as autistic, they feel like it would label them as something different than they are. This revision has the potential to impact their future especially since Asperger's has recently been accepted and understood on a greater level.

For more information on Asperger Syndrome, visit Frequently Asked Questions.

Out of Mind - Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome

Friday, November 16, 2012


Great news! My new book, Out of Mind - Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome, is finished. I wrote this book to specifically address the unique issues that come up when you’re co-parenting with an Asperger Syndrome partner.


In this book, there are extremes on both ends such as poignant stories with deep despair along with progressive thrills of discovery. I focus on the harsh realities that NTs (Neuro-Typicals or without Asperger’s) face when co-parenting with an Aspie. I discuss the NTs’ fears and anguish and losses. I also give you hope and ideas on how to co-parent more successfully. But it is important to recognize that if we don’t reveal the dark side of these relationships, we can’t search for solutions to the all too real problems of the AS/NT family. The last thing I want to do is leave NT parents with the feeling that they are alone. Erasing that aloneness is the first step toward parenting successfully with an Aspie co-parent.

If you’re parenting with an AS partner, I believe you should learn all you can about Asperger Syndrome because information clears up the mystery of the Aspie behavior. This will help you detach from the emotional distress of reacting to those not-so-ordinary moments.

Out of Mind - Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome will be available very soon. I am eagerly anticipating its release and will keep you updated through my blog and the Enriching Your Life Newsletter.

Until then, please download a free sample chapter! If you live in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area, please join me for the Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Support Group on November 17, 2012. The topic for discussion is "How to Find and Work with a Decent Psychotherapist." Hope to see you there.

Tips on Landing a Job When You Have Asperger Syndrome

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Do you or someone you know have Asperger Syndrome? Are they looking for a job? Since Asperger Syndrome impairs nonverbal social interaction, landing and keeping a job can be intimidating. Would like to know how to effectively navigate through this situation?

The book, The Hidden Curriculum of Getting and Keeping a Job: Navigating the Social Landscape of Employment A Guide for Individuals with Autism Spectrum and Other Social-Cognitive Challenges, is a practical guide for teaching the "unwritten rules." These "unwritten rules" are not so obvious for someone on the spectrum. For instance, how to talk to your supervisor, networking, or dealing with frustration.

Two of the three authors are on the spectrum and can speak from experience. I recommend it for anyone on the spectrum, young or old, who is looking for work or looking to improve their social skills in the workplace.

AAPC is the publisher of The Hidden Curriculum. Click here if you are interested in purchasing your own copy.


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