General Characteristics of Asperger Syndrome

Asperger Syndrome (A.S.) is a developmental disorder that affects social and communication skills. It forms part of the autistic spectrum of disorders. The vast majority of people with Asperger Syndrome (A.S.) have average to above average intellectual abilities yet many experience academic problems. Some people want to have friendships but lack the necessary social skills, and others appear indifferent. Many people with A.S. have poor creative or imaginary play. They tend to act out the same themes over and over again. They greatly enjoy their special interests, which can totally absorb them for long periods. Their special interests often dominate both their time and conversation. They prefer to keep to routines and can find change difficult to cope with.

Another difficulty a person with Asperger Syndrome (A.S.) can experience is sensory sensitivity – touch, taste, noises and smells – ordinary sensations that can be perceived as unbearably intense. Understanding emotions in themselves and in others is extremely hard for them, and all these difficulties can greatly increase their levels of stress and anxiety. Because people with A.S. look perfectly normal they often meet with a lack of understanding, which causes many problems for them, especially during the school years. Many children with A.S. speak fluently and adult-like but have difficulty understanding certain situations. Literal interpretation is a common problem and comments such as; “you're full of beans today” or “Sorry I'm late, I've been tied up all afternoon” can totally bemuse them.

To recognize when a child is on the autistic spectrum is most important. It is only then that one can give the help, comfort and reassurance that he/she will undoubtedly need in a world they find so confusing. Only then will the doors of understanding open within schools, colleges' etc. so that their complex needs may be met.

Everything you need to know about Asperger's is available in the book entitled: Asperger's Syndrome: A Guide for Parents