A new report from the US seems to suggest that Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), could be wrecking a lot of marriages, especially in the South Asian Community. And strangely enough, the symptoms of the disease seems to thrive in people who are successful software engineers and academics.
Eva A. Mendes, a psychotherapist, couple counselor and author of the book Marriage and Lasting Relationships with Asperger’s Syndrome, lists defining symptoms of the disease: “if a person is a loner and struggles to keep friends, considers highly of himself, fails to even notice if spouse is sad or crying, if he talks too much or too little” .
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 68 children suffer from ASD in multiple communities in the United States which is 30 per cent higher than the last time it was checked in 2012. However, the condition is extremely difficult to identify among adults.
Mendes assumes that because Asians thrive in the field of IT, engineering, technology, medicine, and science, there is a huge possibility that a considerable percentage of Asian community is affected by this condition.
“Given that a lot of Indians still opt for arranged marriages or meet via the Internet or have long-distance relationships, the challenges and traits of the person with ASD might at first go unnoticed,” she writes. Also, given the “conservative nature” of South-Asian culture, couples often tend to keep issues to themselves and choose not to discuss. Mendes says “With a spouse with ASD, the wife or husband may suffer from severe depression and even feel suicidal because they feel helpless to change the situation.”
ASD is not a psychological disorder, but a neurological one that is hereditary in nature. In fact, often it’s the ASD diagnosis of the child which leads the parents to suspect their own condition.