What is Asperger’s Syndrome?
Asperger’s syndrome (AS) is one of the autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), which are a spectrum of psychological conditions that are characterized by abnormalities of social interaction and communication that pervade the individual’s functioning, and by restricted and repetitive interests and behavior.
It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of linguistic and cognitive development. A pervasive developmental disorder, Asperger’s syndrome is distinguished by a pattern of symptoms rather than a single symptom. It is characterized by qualitative impairment in social interaction, by stereotyped and restricted patterns of behavior, activities and interests, and by no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or general delay in language.
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are not currently a formal diagnostic category, however it is widely in use, both clinical practice and in the professional literature, as a descriptive term which refers to three of the disorders classified within the PDD diagnostic category of the DSM IV-TR (Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified).
While ASD and PDD are often used interchangeably in everyday practice, PDD is the appropriate terminology to use when identifying a formal diagnostic category, until the DSM-V is published in 2013, at which time Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) will become a new diagnostic category in its own right. Asperger’s, Nonverbal Learning Disorders, and PDD-NOS are to be either folded into the new ASD category or are not recognized as separate and distinct conditions.
How is LDI a good program for young adults with Asperger’s Syndrome?
Since 1982, the Life Development Institute (LDI), a private community-based organization located in Glendale, Arizona, has served thousands of older adolescents and young adults from around the world struggling with Asperger’s syndrome, learning disabilities, ADHD, Nonverbal learning disorders or related conditions overcome the often demoralizing effects of years of school, social, and personal achievement failures by providing them the instruction, “real world” experience and practical tools needed to lead meaningful, productive and independent lives.
Using a strength-based (non-disability) approach, LDI’s evidence-based, peer-validated pragmatic model is designed to address the specific developmental, academic and career needs of this under-prepared students that are 17 years of age and older through several levels in their transition to independent and self-supported living – from earning a high school diploma, starting college to achieving careers through employment that is compatible with their unique capabilities.
The program focuses its classroom instruction on achieving mastery of specific, major adult life demands in the areas of career planning, social/emotional maturity, establishing independence & competitive job development/placement- which are based on the behaviors that any individual- disabled or not- will need for personal success in their home communities.
For bright, college capable adults with Asperger’s syndrome, LDI embeds developmental content into courses whose assignments & competencies integrate practical college strategies, promote interpersonal communication skills, career development and enhance social responsibility. All students engage in both academic and experiential learning in the ” how to’s” of handling common problem solving & decision making demands for adult life success -especially pertinent to self-advocacy & leadership.
LDI is part of the community, not an “island’. It provides a supportive campus, inclusive residential community, and access to institutions of higher learning that provides the education, skills and training needed to live independently.The usual limitation of similar residential or boarding school situations is that they are “sheltered” or “clinical” in their orientation whereas our setting is an actual apartment complex-not a dormitory, institutional setting, or group home.
The Institute is authorized to enroll and provide M-1 visas for nonimmigrant foreign students by the Department of Homeland Security , is fully accredited through the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation & School Improvement, multi-agency vendor approval & private party paid.
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