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lsu3
lsu3 asks:
Q:

Can individuals with Asperger's do jobs like Surgical Technology

My niece was diagnosed with Asperger's disorder about 3 months ago.  She is soon to be 23 years old.  She has changed her major in college 3 times so far.  She approached me almost a year ago to inquire about my job as a surgical technologist.  She seemed very insterested.  She has always been very ecentric, but incredibly intelligent at the same time.  I never really thought anything of it.  I've been helping her out by trying to teach her some of the basic things she would learn at the beginning of her education so she could have a head start.  Some days it seemed like she was catching on to what I was teaching her and the next day, it would seem like she heard nothing I would tell her and completely forget what she had previously done the day before.  This all took place before her diagnosis.  I don't know much about Asperger's.  I was told by her sister that it is a form of Autism, though not a severe form.  My question is:  can individuals with Asperger's do jobs like Surgical Technology.  The job entails very fast pace moving and thinking ahead.  Surgeries can vary between doctors and patients.  It is rarely the same from one case to the next.  Is this job a possibility for someone with Asperger's disorder.  My niece wants this so bad, and I want to help her with all my heart.  I just couldn't take it if I was knowingly setting her up with false hope.  She's had so many disappointments in her life and now this.  What should I do to help her?????
In Topics: Autism & Aspergers Syndrome
> 60 days ago

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Expert

lkauffman
Jan 3, 2008
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What the Expert Says:

Hi Lindsay,

What a thoughtful and loving aunt you are! It sounds like you have given a great deal of support to your niece, and given that she returns to you again and again, she clearly appreciates your involvement.

Most individuals with Asperger's struggle with social understanding and communication, difficulties with motor skills, problems in organization, and repetitive interests. However, there is a great deal of variability in the way in which Asperger's symptoms manifest within any given individual. Thus, depending upon your niece's experience, she may be well equipped to tackle surgical technology (her intelligence and attention to detail would serve her well) or she may have to work harder than her peers (coping with stressful situations and planning ahead could be a challenge).

Regardless, given her intense interest in the work, it seems reasonable to continue on the current path. It will be difficult to shield her from all disappointments in life, and at this point, it is difficult to discern whether she will be successful at this or not. You might consider talking with her about the ways in which her Asperger's may challenge her experience in Surgical Technology. Perhaps the two of you could develop techniques and strategies to manage the more complex aspects of the position, leveraging her strengths. For example, she may set up structured schemas for the operating room so that she can feel prepared for most outcomes. Similarly, she may benefit from relaxation techniques (deep breathing, visualization) to cope with the stress of the job.

Just a few thoughts. Do others have input?

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