jackie2's Blog

Dr. Jackie's Mental Health Moment


Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, USA
August 01
Clinical Psychologist
Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade
Only child of holocaust survivors from Eastern and Central Europe, grew up in Phila., Central PA, and NYC (2nd home). Psychologist since 1970 working with children and adults in wide variety of selttings, including schools, hospital, courts, private office, and prisons.

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DECEMBER 17, 2012 7:29PM

Asperger's Kid-Dr. Jackie's Mental Health Moment

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I have worked with dozens of children and young to middle-aged men with Asperger's Syndrome over the past several decades. No girls or young women. Is it sex-linked or do we identify shy, withdrawn, aloof guys with empathy problems but not girls or women with those issues as emotionally needy? Anyway, none of them showed the least bit  of violent tendency. At worst, they expressed frustration over technology problems and disorganization in their lives.

When people didn't understand them or even rejected them, they detached even more. If married and working with me, they worked very hard to understand what it would feel like to be unrecognized emotionally by the spouse, so they could make at least superficial changes. When emotional sensitivity doesn't come naturally, people learn to dissect the components of sensitive behavior, like eye contact, smiling, a sad expression, and a hug and "fake it," until the actions lead to results and the whole sequence starts to become more natural. Learning to "relate" can grow on these older guys, like it does with little children who learn by modeling and reinforcement more easily.

My point is that the Asperger's Syndrome and violence don't really go together, so when someone so identified acts out violently, it's probably in spite of their condition, not because of it.

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Interesting insights, but what is Asperger Syndrome? Who is your audience?

Best regards, Lyle
Thanks for pointing out that I may have assumed the diagnosis is understood. Asperger's is the high end or most hightly-functioning of the autistic spectrum disorders. These children have some neurological wiring which makes it very hard to establish empathetic, sensitive, appropriately-reactive relationships with others. They don't show affection easily. They are oversensitive to conditions which require screening out stimulation and tolerating disorder. They seek the comfort of objects and the routine and structure of organizing for play or work. They make little or no eye contact and are often social isolates and easily-rejected. Does that help?