THURSDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- Asperger's syndrome is disappearing as an official diagnosis, but people who live with its symptoms will continue to struggle.
"I would say that Asperger's is sort of like 'autism light,'" said Liane Holliday Willey, senior editor of the Autism Spectrum Quarterly. "Our verbal skills tend to be more developed, and we have less moments of going inward. We don't present as obvious, so we kind of fly under the radar."
"But our [lack of] ability to read your mind or read your motives is a big red flag," she said. "And that's what gets us hurt physically and emotionally and career-wise."
Holliday Willey, 53, has written books on life with Asperger's and serves as an autism consultant in Grand Rapids, Mich.
"I've had very bad things happen because I couldn't read perspectives," she said. "I'm pretty smart, and I'm educated and you'd meet me at the mall and think, 'There's a quirky girl.' You'd never have any idea how much of a struggle this all is for me."
Certain situations can be too much, Holliday Willey said.
"When I sit down to take a test, to interact with a human, to be on my own without support -- all of these groovy strategies I've created over these past 50 years can disappear pretty quickly," she said. "So I can kind of go back to a more obvious state of autism."
"Now I can take a minute to go reboot my hard drive and figure out how to behave, until it gets to the point where I'm just emotionally tired and I make my exit," she said.
Brian King, a relationship coach for people on the autism spectrum, was diagnosed with Asperger's in 2007.
"I've learned a lot of strategies that allow me to manage," said King, who lives in Illinois. "And if by virtue of those strategies I'm able to manage life more effectively, am I by any means beyond the Asperger's? No way."
He said children with Asp
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