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The 'Learning Curve' of Living With Asperger's
Date:4/18/2013

erger's need a lot more than just traditional talk therapy.

"You need to work with this child's entire support system -- parents, siblings, educators -- to give this kid the best chance to succeed," King said. "People on the spectrum are unique in the way they're challenged and the way they need to be approached and to learn the skills they need to succeed in life. The learning curve can be huge."

Eric Lipshaw, a 21-year-old student at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich., found out he had Asperger's at age 7.

"Obviously it made things harder with friendships over the years," Lipshaw said. "Social cues, and I was oversensitive to noises and smells. I remember often in elementary and middle school I'd spend almost an hour or two a week in the [nurse's] office. I'd get terrible headaches from the fluorescent light bulbs cycling.

"I was stuck, I was rigid, I absolutely despised changes in schedule," Lipshaw said. "I was pretty much bullied my entire high school career."

"My parents worked their [rear ends] off -- and I'll love them forever for it -- to make sure I was as well-adjusted as I could be," he said.

Today "nobody would realize I'm anything but a little eccentric until I disclose to them that I have Asperger's," said Lipshaw, who has a campus radio show and hopes to work as an on-air radio talent after graduation.

Decades ago, Karen Rodman married a man who "I knew all along was intelligent, a musician, quiet -- but I did not understand to what extent [he had problems]."

It wasn't until many years later that she realized his issues went far beyond being what she called "ornery." The local medical community was no help, Rodman said.

Eventually, as she was contemplating divorce, the marriage counselor pulled her aside. "She told me that she thought my husband had Asperger's syndrome and Tourette's [syndrome]," Rodman said.

Rodman had never heard of Asperger's. She spent the next weekend in boo
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