John 9 New International Version (NIV)
1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
Before the 1990’s the term Asperger’s syndrome (now called ‘high-functioning autism’) was not really known, yet as early as the 1930s, the Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger, studied children who had difficulties with nonverbal communication, apparently showed limited empathy, and had clumsy movements.
Often parents of ‘Asperger children’ worry that they might have caused the symptoms through some ‘mistakes’, and it can take years before they realise that their child is simply different, and that there is nothing wrong with them or their parenting.
The Syndrome is not caused by emotional trauma, neglect or lack of love from the parents. Research studies have established that Asperger’s Syndrome is a developmental disorder connected to a dysfunction of parts of the brain. That means the brain of an Asperger’s person is physically slightly different. Certain structures in the brain have developed differently either because of chromosomal abnormalities, or because of some kind of damage during pregnancy, birth or the first months of life.
In the well-known classic about Asperger’s by Tony Attwood, the author describes how learning relationships based upon regularity and trust, such as the traditional relationship between master and apprentice, or the intimate and regular contact with a mentor can be especially beneficial for an Asperger individual. This kind of training seems to suit such individuals best, since they are not at ease in big groups or socially dynamic situations involving large numbers of people.
Any kind of mentoring or training for emotional intelligence is extremely beneficial, since it is the area of emotional and social learning that need special care and attention.
Any kind of ‘body learning’ and learning through experience is very good too.
A good mentor, who is experienced in working with the cultivation of emotional intelligence can help the Asperger individual find his talent in life. (This is what Sir Ken Robinson has called ‘the element’.)
Imaginative thinking is highly developed in many people ‘on the autistic spectrum’ and can become a great asset if rightly guided and trained.
The common rigidity of mind (one-track mind) and the lack of understanding of social context often found associated with the ‘autistic spectrum’ can be ameliorated through emotional intelligence mentoring.