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Asperger Syndrome

What is Asperger Syndrome?

Asperger Syndrome is a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) and is a part of the autistic spectrum. Asperger Syndrome is often described as a less severe and higher-functioning form of autism.

Asperger Syndrome is a disability which lasts throughout an individual's life. Asperger Syndrome is characterised by difficulties in three main areas, including:

  • Social interaction
  • Social imagination
  • Social communication

The characteristics will vary amongst individuals with Asperger Syndrome; however, the three areas above encompass the main difficulties. In addition, individuals with Asperger Syndrome may have sensory, motor and organisational difficulties.

It is also common for individuals with Asperger Syndrome to have learning difficulties including Dyslexia. Additional difficulties such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Epilepsy and Dyspraxia may also be experienced.

Individuals with Asperger syndrome share many of the difficulties seen in Autism, however, unlike individuals with Autism those with Asperger Syndrome will usually have average (or above) IQ, and few problems with their speech.

The exact cause of Asperger Syndrome is not known, and there is no known way to prevent it. It has been found to have a tendency to run in families, which has led to research being carried out with regard to genetic links. Boys have been reported to have Asperger Syndrome four times more than girls.

With appropriate support, advice and intervention individuals with Asperger Syndrome often lead full independent lifestyles.

Social Communication Difficulties

Individuals with Asperger Syndrome often find it difficult to express themselves emotionally and socially.

This includes:

  • difficulty understanding facial expressions, tones of voice or gestures
  • difficulty knowing when to initiate or finish a conversation
  • struggling to choose a topic to talk about
  • the ability to use complex words and phrases, but a difficulty in fully understanding what they mean
  • Difficulty understanding sarcasm and jokes
  • Being very literal in what they say

Social Interaction Difficulties

Individuals with Asperger Syndrome will often have the desire to be sociable but have problems with initiating and maintaining social relationships. This can lead to increased anxiety. Problems that may be experienced include:

  • difficulty making and maintaining friendships
  • lack of awareness regarding social rules and cues e.g. standing too close to another person during a conversation
  • finding other individuals confusing
  • behaving in a manner that may seem inappropriate
  • becoming withdrawn, with an apparent lack of interest in others, appearing distant

Social Imagination Difficulties

Individuals with Asperger Syndrome often have difficulty knowing and guessing what other people are thinking. Problems may include:

  • Difficulty understanding other peoples actions, thoughts and feelings.
  • Missing subtle messages portrayed by others.
  • Having a limited range of imaginative activities and repeating activities and rituals.
  • Difficulty playing pretend games with others.

To arrange an assessment with one of our therapists please contact us by emailing or calling 03300 886 693.

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