Aspergers Syndrome (AS) is a form of autism, a disability which affects the way an individual interacts with and makes sense of the world. It can vary widely from person to person, hence the term ‘autistic spectrum’ to encompass this broad range. While severe forms of autism may include the inability to communicate and a greater dependence on care, those with AS (often called ‘the hidden disability’) may have an average, or above-average level of intelligence, learn how to integrate into society and go on to lead independent lives.
AS is a lifelong condition and can affect the individual’s ability to:
- Read social cues in others, such as gestures and tone of voice
- Act in a socially acceptable way, such as speaking out of turn, or inappropriately, or standing too close to a stranger
- Understand creative speech and idioms, for example, “it’s raining cats and dogs” could be taken very literally
- Foresee a course of actions, or imagine scenarios unfolding. Children may struggle with pretending and make believe, preferring logic games
An individual with AS may also have an accompanying learning disability such as dyslexia or ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
Both adults and children with AS often require a set routine in order to feel less anxious about the unpredictable nature of life. Sometimes loud noises, or crowds of people who inadvertently brush past, may cause unease. This need for order can lead to an ‘obsession’, such as an avid interest in a subject or fervent collecting. With guidance, structure and encouragement these interests can translate into expertise and potential career prospects.
Indeed, with the right support, a child with AS can learn how to make and maintain friendships and develop coping strategies which will greatly assist their adult life. The Behaviour Change Clinic can provide such support to children with Aspergers using social skills training and coping strategies. Click here to contact us and arrange an assessment today!
Did you know?
Many of those with high functioning AS have carved their way to success in art, music and science. Examples include Tim Page (a Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and author) and Satoshi Tajiri (creator and designer of Pokemon).