What is Aspergers Syndrome?
AS is a complex brain disorder and is seen as part of the Autistic Spectrum. Generally those affected by the condition have an IQ within the normal range but may have extremely poor social and communication skills. Common characteristics can be a lack of empathy, little ability to form relationships, one-sided conversations and an intense absorption with a special interest. Sometimes movements can be clumsy. However, with the proper support people with AS can lead full and productive lives.
In Ireland it is estimated that several thousand people have the syndrome, with about nine times as many men affected as women. The lack of services in this country places an enormous burden on parents. For many, obtaining a diagnosis is often a major undertaking and can take up to several years. Even with a diagnosis parents soon realise that few primary and secondary schools have the staff or resources to deal with the special needs of children with AS. Bullying can be a huge problem for these vulnerable children and adults.
There are a lot of symptoms connected with the condition and nobody will ever have all of the symptoms and no two people will ever have the same combination of symptoms. The majority of people with Asperger Syndrome will experience difficulties in developing their social, communication and emotional skills.
Asperger Syndrome or AS for short is part of the autistic spectrum and shares some of the same characteristics as autism. Many people with Asperger Syndrome experience impairments in the following areas: -
- Social Interaction
Individuals can have problems interacting socially; they may seem quiet or be called “loners”. Some people with AS can appear socially inappropriate or naive.
Individuals can have problems with over elaborate or double meaning language and may interpret some things literally. Some people with Asperger Syndrome may need visual written back-ups and prompts.
Individuals may be very rigid thinkers and relay a lot on timetables and routines. Some people with Asperger Syndrome will have problems grasping concepts that aren’t very black and white. Asperger Syndrome was only confirmed as a distinct Autistic Spectrum Disorder in the early 1990's. Some professionals and members of the public have a limited understanding of Asperger Syndrome.
Having AS does not mean that a person is any less intelligent that the next person. In fact, many studies have shown that people with AS often have above average intelligence in specific areas and may excel in mathematics or music, for example.
Keep in mind that AS is NOT a disease or health problem. It is a life long condition. People with AS can live successful lives, attend mainstream schools and have successful careers.
- Dependable – people with AS desire routine and so are punctual, reliable and dependable
- Commitment – they are loyal and hardworking
- Specialist knowledge – many people with AS have a high knowledge in specialist areas. This interest can be especially beneficial for an employer
- Recall – people with AS are often good with facts and figures and have a good memory for detail
- Concentration – people with AS can have good concentration for tasks that others find boring or repetitive
- Logical thinkers – people with AS can be very skilled at logical problem solving