Sunday, January 17, 2010

Why I Work in the Asperger's Field

I am occasionally asked how I came to working with children with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) and why I am regarded as an expert. You might wonder: "how a guy with a business degree ended up in this field?" It is true that I am neither a psychologist, a counselor, nor a doctor, but I do have a talent as a businessman: I am a problem solver. I approach every situation like a challenge that has to be overcome. If I have to contract out IT services for a sizable mortgage company on a five digit budget in three weeks, then I need to start finding solutions. In fact I had an IT service working for my company within two weeks and under budget (an IT service in the United States, by the way).

How did I come to working with AS... It is a long story, but I can offer the short version here.

Some years ago my younger brother was diagnosed with AS. My father and I noticed that Asperger's-like tendencies existed in our family. I myself once sought the counsel of a medical professional about whether I have AS and received the label "sub-clinical Asperger's."

I began to work with my brother to help him learn things he did not know about social skills. I soon found myself volunteering one day a week is his special education classroom. I attended some parent groups and became somewhat involved. Parents were complaining about problems with the special education system. It was not long before parents started inviting me to their special education meetings (called IEPs). Schools started inviting me for trainings and speaking engagements. Eventually, someone pointed out that if I charged for my time this could be a career. Thus ended my promising career as the VP of a real estate and mortgage firm and began my career as an advocate and AS specialist.

Not too many years later after many letters to many members of Congress both from parents I knew, and tens of thousands more across the country, Congress began to piece together IDEA 2004; the latest special education law. I watched as many of committee hearings as I could stand, read the legislation several times over, and attended meetings, along with parents and other education activists, with several members of Congress as they explained what this law would do. Things became a little easier for the parents, but challenges remain.

I later founded the Asperger Society ( an organization that provides free social groups for children and adults with AS.

In serving many clients, parents, schools (public and private), and mentoring at the social groups, I have become something of an expert. I have met and helped hundreds of special needs children the greater number of them having AS. I have thus gained expertise through experience. I have also had the opportunity to work with and learn from experts like Ed Phipps and with organizations like Autism Speaks, The Reading Clinic, and The Autism Project.

Well that is the short version, contact me to find out how I can help you.

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