What is Asperger's Syndrome?

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What is Asperger's Syndrome?

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When a child is diagnosed with Autism, they usually come to my office somewhere around the ages of two or three years of age because they suffer from both a social and communication disorder. A child with Aspergers, I usually don't see a child until they are about seven years old. Aspergers, which many people feel is the highest level of functioning in the autism spectrum disorder scale, is really not a communication disorder. For the most part, these kids speak beautifully, but rather it's a social disorder. We have kids who are brilliant in mathematics or chess, but don't seem to have the common sense to cross the street. I played chess one day with a little guy with Aspergers. He was about 13. He, his mom and I sat together, and one of the things that I wanted to get to his attention, was that the chess board was about a foot and a half away from mommy's body. When I asked him to look at mom and try to figure out, from her facial expressions, what was going on; he looked at his mom, he looked at the chess board, he said, "Dr. Hess, I have no idea." And he really didn't know.

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Esther Hess, PhD

Pediatric Psychologist

Dr. Esther Hess is a developmental psychologist. She specializes in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of children with developmental delays, regulatory disorders and language impairment, specifically autism, Asperger’s Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder, not otherwise specified.  In addition, she treats various psychological ailments including, affective disorders, selective mutism, school phobias, attention deficit disorder, non-verbal learning disorders and difficulties as related to childhood response to parental divorce. Her expertise is in the utilization and application of a developmentally based psychotherapy (the DIR model) as devised by Dr. Stanley Greenspan. This model, conceptualized as Floor Time, takes into consideration the various underlying elements that may be impeding the child including where he/she is at developmentally, various biological constraints, and the relationship between the child and the parent. 

In addition to working with the impacted person, Dr. Hess interfaces with the entire family and coordinates the efforts of the various members of team specialists who assist in boosting the impacted individual’s developmental lag.  She is currently one of Dr. Greenspan’s Senior Clinicians on the West Coast, certified in  D.I.R./Floor Time and has trained parents, interventionists and clinicians both nationally and internationally in the developmental/relational method known as Floor Time.  Dr. Hess is the executive director of a multidisciplinary treatment facility in West Los Angeles, Center for the Developing Mind.

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