What is Asperger Syndrome?

Asperger syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) considered to be on the “high functioning” end of the spectrum. Affected children and adults have difficulty with social interactions and exhibit a restricted range of interests and/or repetitive behaviors. Motor development may be delayed, leading to clumsiness or uncoordinated motor movements. Compared with those affected by other forms of ASD, however, those with Asperger syndrome do not have significant delays or difficulties in language or cognitive development. Some even demonstrate precocious vocabulary – often in a highly specialized field of interest.

Children with Asperger’s syndrome have the following characteristics:

  • Delayed social maturity and social reasoning
  • Difficulty making friends and often teased by other children
  • Difficulty with the communication  and control of emotions
  • Unusual language abilities that include advanced vocabulary and syntax but delayed conversation skills, unusual prosody and a tendency to be pedantic
  • A fascination with a topic that is unusual in intensity or focus
  • An unusual profile of learning abilities
  • A need for assistance with some self-help and organizational skills
  • Sensitivity to specific sounds, aromas, textures or touch

The advantages of a diagnosis can be:

  • Being recognized as having genuine difficulties coping with experiences that others find easy and enjoyable
  • A positive change in other people’s expectations, acceptance and support
  • Compliments rather than criticism with regard to social competence
  • Acknowledgement of confusion and exhaustion in social competence
  • Schools can access resources to help the child and class teacher
  • An adult can access specialized support services for employment and further education
  • Greater self-understanding, self-advocacy and better decision making with regard to careers, friendships and relationships
  • A sense of identification with a valued ‘culture’
  • The person no longer feels stupid, defective or insane

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