Asperger’s Syndrome is a form of autism, a life-long disability that affects the way a person communicates and relates to other people.
A number of traits of autism are common to people with Asperger’s Syndrome although they have less difficulty with language and do not have accompanying learning disabilities, having average or above average intelligence.
Because of this many children with Asperger’s Syndrome enter mainstream school and with the correct level of support and encouragement can make good progress and go on to further education and employment. Some adults don’t even get a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome until later in life, commonly this is due to the fact they have been employing coping mechanisms to disguise the deficits they have and have played to their strengths to get by.
Above all it must be remembered that each person with Asperger’s Syndrome is an individual and the following characteristics will vary greatly and some may be more apparent than others.
Difficulty with social relationships
Unlike ‘classic’ autism many people with Asperger’s Syndrome try hard to be sociable and do not dislike human contact. However, they still find it hard to understand non-verbal signs, tones of voice and facial expressions.
Difficulty with communication
People with Asperger’s Syndrome are often fluent speakers but may not take much notice of the reaction of people listening to them. They may sound over-precise or interpret literally. As a result jokes, idiomatic language and metaphors can cause problems.
Lack of Imagination
While they can often excel at learning facts and figures, people with Asperger’s Syndrome find it hard to think in abstract ways.
Special Interest/ Love of Routines
People with Asperger’s Syndrome often develop obsessional interests. This usually involves arranging or memorising facts about a specialist subject. Unexpected changes in routine can be upsetting and can make them anxious or upset.