Boston, MA — A weekly support group meeting of Asperger’s patients was awkwardly silent for the 6th straight week, according to participant Don Bessert of Plymouth. The meeting, which is the 6th attempt to get people afflicted with the social interaction and nonverbal communication ailment to talk to one another, was considered a failure by lead Clinical Psychologist Ed Woodward, Ph.D.
“We’ve tried a variety of different group therapy approaches to try to get my clients to ‘open up,’ if you’ll pardon my cliche,” said Dr. Woodward. “We’ve tried Gestalt and other interactive techniques, but I can’t get anyone to communicate with each other.”
Asperger’s syndrome (AS), also known as Asperger’s syndrome, Asperger’s (AD), or simply Asperger’s, is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of linguistic and cognitive development. Although not required for diagnosis, physical clumsiness and atypical (peculiar or odd) use of language are frequently reported.
According to Mr. Bessert, Dr. Woodward is a very nice, intelligent man, but he doesn’t want to participate.
He was making us sit in chairs facing each other,” said Mr. Bessert, who refused to make eye contact. “He told one of us to pretend like we were someone without Asperger’s and the other person to have Asperger’s. Well, that made no sense to me because I already have Asperger’s, so how was I supposed to pretend as I have it? So I just looked at my Casio calculator watch for 30 minutes until it was cookie time.”
According to Dr. Woodward, he will continue to work with the team until they have a breakthrough.
“They’re a great bunch of folks,” continued Dr. Woodward. “And as long as they keep coming, we’re going to continue to work on getting to a breakthrough. I have the best job in the world with the best people.”