Asperger's Syndrome: A Special Report (Part Two of Two)
In one of our most important programs to date, this second of a two-part special report on Asperger’s Syndrome offers a groundbreaking and extraordinary look at Asperger's in children and young adults. We meet Anders, a 17-year-old boy with Asperger’s, and his mother Carol, who talks about her surprise when Anders suddenly began speaking like a professor and using four-syllable words. We also speak with film producer Robert Lawrence, about his forthcoming film, Mozart and the Whale, starring Josh Hartnett and co-written by "Rain Man" screenwriter Ron Bass, which tells the tale of Donald and Isabelle, two "Aspies in love." Dr. Stanley Greenspan, founder of the DIR/Floortime approach, explains how children with autistic disorders can significantly build their capacity for emotional understanding and interpersonal connections through intensive play. Dr. Richard Howlin, a psychologist who works with teens with Asperger's, talks about the special challenges it poses with family, school, peers and especially dating. Finally, summing up the two-part series is commentator and visionary Howard Bloom, who reaches back to his childhood in Buffalo, and even further back to the dawn of man, to examine the lessons each of us can glean from our own handicaps and weaknesses.
Asperger's Syndrome: A Special Report (Part One of Two)
“Let’s not use the word ‘cure’ if you don’t mind… When you talk about cure you imply that we’re broken. I don’t feel broken.” So says Liane Holliday Willey, a woman who not so long ago would have been described as a “victim” of Asperger’s Syndrome. It’s been more than 60 years since the Austrian doctor Hans Asperger identified the condition that bears his name, but it has only been in the past decade or so that we have begun to understand its broader implications. Asperger’s Syndrome may be a part of the autistic spectrum, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that an “Aspie” can’t function in the world.
In this, the first in a two-part special report on Asperger’s Syndrome, we hear from Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen, a researcher at Cambridge University, on recent advances in recognizing the condition. We meet Dr. Michael Fitzgerald of Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, a child psychiatrist who’s made quite a stir diagnosing Asperger’s Syndrome among the dead. Then, in a panel discussion, three adults – Liane Holliday Willey, Stephen Shore, and Michael John Carley – talk about growing up as loners with Asperger’s. Now they celebrate their membership in the community of “Aspies.” Finally, in a commentary, Dr. Arthur Caplan, head of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, asks, “If you could go back in time and stop the birth of the world’s most famous nerd, would you have done so?”