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Aspergers is a syndrome; it is a collection of behaviors which, taken together, comprise a specific profile. Unlike cancer or diabetes or any number of other illnesses, Aspergers cannot be diagnosed with a blood test or a brain scan, even though it is clearly a set of neurological issues. There are a variety of theories about how exactly the brains of people with Aspergers are different from the brains of neurotypical (or “normal”) people but there is no real answer to why some people exhibit these clusters of behaviors and others do not.
People with Aspergers tend to share certain characteristics: They have poor social skills and limited interests. They have higher-than-average IQs. They are rigid and inflexible. Some Aspies talk in a flat monotone; others flap their hands or hop up and down. Some hyper focus on one thing for their entire lives — air plane engines or maps or butterflies.
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The Same But Different is one mom’s story of navigating the teen years with a son who has ADHD and an anxiety disorder (because puberty isn’t hard enough already). Join me every Friday as I try to balance science homework, basketball practice and panic attacks without completely losing my mind.