Asperger’s Syndrome as a diagnosis no longer exists, as it was subsumed under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorder in the most recent version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. However, the term is still commonly used both inside and outside of the autism community. Asperger’s Syndrome was considered the mild end of the autism spectrum, and yet the impact of Aspergers symptoms on the individual and the family should not be underestimated or dismissed. This article outlines some of the Aspergers symptoms that can present themselves in home and school life.
- Impairment in imagination
- Impairment in non-verbal communication skills such as using and responding to body language, gestures and facial expressions
- Difficulties in establishing and maintaining friendships
- Difficulties in interpreting and appropriately responding to social cues
- Difficulties in learning abstract concepts
- Impairment in social conversation skills
- Underdeveloped emotional self-control skills
- Difficulties in perspective-taking
- Lack of insight into the thoughts, feelings, preferences, beliefs and opinions of others
- Peculiarities in spoken speech such as odd accents or flat intonation
- Limited eye contact
- Lack of understanding when it comes to social reciprocity
- Lack of tact, leading to them making insensitive comments or having inappropriate reactions to the words and actions of others
- Literal or “black and white” thinking without an ability to grade reactions to situations appropriately
- Difficulties with changes in routines or with transitions
- Rigidities or inflexibilities
- Other deficits in executive functioning skills such as organizing and planning
- Difficulties in understanding figures of speech or otherwise figurative language
- Sensory processing issues, making environments that are completely tolerable for other people, very uncomfortable for them
- Slight to moderate impairment in motor functions making things like pencil control more difficult for them than their average classmate
It is important to state that although these Aspergers symptoms can make life difficult for the individual and the people around him/her, people with Asperger’s Syndrome are still people in their own rite and have many endearing traits and qualities. They are some of the most intriguing people you will meet, and with their penchant for honesty, they are good friends to have!
In conclusion, the Aspergers symptoms may not be as severe as the symptoms of classical autism, but because many children and adolescents with Aspergers are expected to cope independently in mainstream settings and need to be functional, contributing members of their family units, individuals with Aspgers symptoms deserve just as well tailored intervention programmes as those with classical autism symptoms in order to achieve their best individual outcomes. A diagnosis of any neurodevelopmental disorder can be challenging. An Asperger’s diagnosis will be taken just as hard as an Autism diagnosis and support should be provided accordingly.