Chris and Gisela have been partners for twelve years. Four years ago Chris was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. For Chris, this was an explanation of why he had always regarded himself as 'socially handicapped'. For Gisela, it meant coming to terms with a marriage in which there would never be an intuitive understanding despite Chris's good intentions. For the couple it was the beginning of a long and still unfinished process of learning to live with a disability regarded by some as incompatible with marriage.
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(234mm x 156mm x 10mm)
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
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UK Kirkus Review »
Gisela Slater-Walker describes this book, written jointly with her husband, as 'a warts and all' account of their Asperger marriage. Asperger Syndrome is an autistic spectrum disorder. Sufferers lack the normal non-verbal skills and are poor at demonstrating emotion or dealing with emotive matters. Typically they think only in terms of literal or logical responses. Since most of the literature on the subject to date has been aimed at the parents of younger children with Asperger's, this is a much needed and groundbreaking account. As the authors point out, the issues don't go away when children reach adulthood, they remain the same throughout life and have to be dealt with. The Slater-Walkers were unfortunate in that they didn't realize that Christopher suffered from any recognizable disability until quite late in their marriage. When they met at university, Gisela was 33 with three children, Chris nine years younger. Chris felt that he was afflicted with extreme self-consciousness and lack of confidence but Gisela simply saw him as slightly eccentric. If anyone was disabled in the partnership, she thought it was herself since she suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy. Not until their marriage had hit serious trouble and they were considering separating did they read a book by Oliver Sacks that described seven cases of neurological disability. For Gisela, everything began to fall into place with the realization that many of her husband's odd and obsessive behaviours were not the result of perversity or bad temper. After his diagnosis with Asperger Syndrome, Chris was also relieved. It meant that he no longer felt totally inept. They were able to join a local contact group and work on their relationship. It is heartening to see how much the writing of this book has affected their marriage: they have written alternate chapters of the book and each has found what the other has written to be revelatory, as though a curtain between them has been torn down. Gisela has obviously had to deal with constant frustration in her marriage and to some extent this continues but with understanding comes new ways of coping. The book is a testament to the courage and perseverance of two people who have had to struggle unknowingly with the disability of Asperger's for such a long time, and will be an inspiration to anyone with a connection to Asperger's or an interest in the complex interactions between neurology and personality. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Gisela Slater-Walker
Chris and Gisela Slater-Walker married in 1994. They met while both studying Russian at Manchester University. They live in Hertfordshire with three children from Gisela's previous marriage and their son George. Chris was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome in 1997.