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Asperger's Syndrome

Asperger's syndrome (AS) is a form of autism, a lifelong disability that affects the way a person communicates, and relates to others.

A number of the traits of autism are common to Asperger's Syndrome including :

  • difficulty in social relationships
  • difficulty in communicating
  • limitations in imagination and creative play
  • obsessive special interests
  • love of routines

Difficulty in Social Relationships

Unlike people with 'classic autism', who often appear withdrawn and uninterested in the world
around them, many people with AS want to be sociable and enjoy human contact..
However, they still find it hard to understand non-verbal signals, such as body language and
facial expressions. This makes it more difficult for them to form and maintain social relationships with people unaware of their needs and problems.

Difficulty in Communicating

People with Asperger's syndrome may speak fluently but they may not take much notice of the reaction of people li

stening to them. They may talk 'on and on' regardless of the listener's interest
or may appear insensitive to their feelings. Despite having good language skills, people with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) may sound over-precise or over-literal. - Jokes can cause problems,
as can exaggerated language, turns of phrase and metaphors. For example a person with AS
may be confused or frightened by a statement such as "She bit my head off . In order to help a
person with AS to understand you, keep your sentences short, be clear and concise.

Limitations in Imagination

While they often excel at learning facts and figures, people with Asperger's syndrome find it hard
to think in abstract ways. This can cause problems for children in school where they may have
difficulty with certain subjects, such as literature or religious studies.

Obsessive Special Interests

People with Asperger's syndrome often develop an almost obsessive interest in a hobby or collection. Usally their interest involves arranging or memorizing facts about a specialist subject,
such as train timetables, cricket scores, Derby winners, etc. However, with encouragement, interests can be developed so that some people with AS can go on to study or work in their favourite subjects.

Love of Routines

For people with Asperger's syndrome any unexpected change in routine can be upsetting.
Young children may impose their new routines, such as insisting on always walking the same
route to school. At school they may get upset by sudden changes such as an alternation to the timetable. People with AS often prefer to order their day according to a set pattern. If they work
set hours, then any expected delay, such as a traffic hold-up, or a late train, can make them very anxious and upset.

These are the main features of the syndrome but, because every person is an unique individual,
these characteristics will vary greatly and some maybe demonstrated more strongly than others.


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