Living with asperger's syndrome, an Arizona boy adapts and overc - Fox 2 News Headlines

Living with asperger's syndrome, an Arizona boy adapts and overcomes

Posted: Updated:
  • Special ReportsMore>>

  • Arizona team plans mission to investigate asteroid

    Arizona team plans mission to investigate asteroid

    It will take 21 years and close to 1 billion dollars. But if all goes well, a University of Arizona scientist will make history when a NASA spacecraft returns part of an asteroid that could one day impact earth.It's a mission that could be de-railed by what is happening in Ukraine.
    It will take 21 years and close to 1 billion dollars. But if all goes well, a University of Arizona scientist will make history when a NASA spacecraft returns part of an asteroid that could one day impact earth.It's a mission that could be de-railed by what is happening in Ukraine.
  • Company offers dinners ready to cook for busy families

    Company offers dinners ready to cook for busy families

    How does a home cooked meal sound without cooking at home? A new kitchen is there for those wanting the taste of a home cooked dinner.Making dinner is a process. There's planning, shopping, prepping, chopping and cooking.
    How does a home cooked meal sound without cooking at home? A new kitchen is there for those wanting the taste of a home cooked dinner.Making dinner is a process. There's planning, shopping, prepping, chopping and cooking.
  • Arizona agency tracks radiation: tests regularly for any problems

    Arizona agency tracks radiation: tests regularly for any problems

    From licensing tanning beds, to keeping track of radioactive material, and monitoring the air outside of the Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant. All of this is the responsibility of the Arizona Radiation Regulatory Agency. It's part of their job to keep the public safe.
    From licensing tanning beds, to keeping track of radioactive material, and monitoring the air outside of the Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant. All of this is the responsibility of the Arizona Radiation Regulatory Agency. It's part of their job to keep the public safe.
PHOENIX (KSAZ) - What do Dan Akroyd, Beethoven, and Thomas Jefferson have in common? All have or are believed to have had asperger's syndrome.

It's a development disorder often linked to autism. Statistics show that 1 in 500 people have it, most are not only living with it, but conquering it.

7th grader Sam Anderson always seems to be smiling, and he's eager to learn. His hand repeatedly shoots up in the classroom.

He may not always give Mr. Shroder, his teacher, the right answer, but he never stops trying, especially when it comes to anything science.

"Besides hanging out with my friends, science is my favorite subject... since I can remember, I've always liked building things, and just science in general, chemistry, I don't know how to describe it, I was born to be scientific," said Sam Anderson.

Born to be scientific but also born with a form of autism called asperger's syndrome

"It really just means that you can think faster, and you can learn things faster, your brain just runs a whole lot faster. That is good, but you can also have some emotional problems such as depression and anxiety," said Sherri Anderson.

Social interaction is sometimes awkward; Sam is well aware of this, so are his classmates.

"I just know they know I'm different, they just don't know what makes me different," said Sam.

"That's really hard to see your child be rejected, or struggle, and when you're driving in the car, and he says, "I just wish I was normal", and he is, but the other kids don't get it," said Sherri.

The key for Sam was to find his passion and nurture it. He found it at Legacy Traditional School in Maricopa.

"Sam mentioned his teachers and honestly it's made all the difference in the world," she said.

One of the hallmarks of asperger's syndrome is an intense focus which when channeled properly can be a great asset. That's where a recent science competition came in.

Sam and his classmates constructed a 3-D printer. His team took first place, the youngest team competing against two high schools, Sam was a key player.

"He brought ingenuity and great ideas," said Sam's teacher, Judy Noneman.

Noneman is a computer teacher at Legacy Traditional School, she oversaw the team of eight students. She watched Sam become completely immersed in the project.

"When this 3D project came up it was just a perfect fit for him because it just went along with something that was very important to him, technology, and being innovative," she said.

She's been teaching Sam since he was a little boy, and she expects great things.

"He does inspire me, I've seen him overcome challenges that were not easy for him... he is intrinsically motivated and he will do whatever he can to accomplish his goal," said Noneman.

Sam has not only accepted his challenges; he's turned them into an asset.

"I used to hate it, I used to just hate asperger's syndrome, but now I almost kind of like being special, you know... it's a gift, and you just gotta learn how to take the flaws in it, it's a part of you, it always will be, but it doesn't define you" said Sam.

Sam said his dream is to one day own his own science and tech company named SAIL. It stands for Sam Anderson Invention Laboratories.
Didn't find what
you were looking for?

Powered by WorldNow

WJBK-TV | Fox 2
16550 West Nine Mile Rd.
Southfield, MI 48075

Main Station: (248) 557-2000
Newsroom: (248) 552-5103

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices