What is Asperger’s Syndrome?

It is important to realize that Autism does not look the same in every person. The term “Autism Spectrum Disorder” applies here. People on the Spectrum can range from very low-functioning (classic Autism) to very high-functioning (disorders such as Asperger’s Syndrome).

Asperger’s Syndrome differs from classic Autism in many ways. The person looks quite ordinary. They are not rocking in a corner, screaming every time someone touches them or enters their personal space. With the right help, they can often lead nearly normal lives.

Unlike the classically Autistic, people with Asperger’s Syndrome are often quite verbal. In fact, they do not seem to pick up on the cue that the conversation is over, or that the other person has grown bored.

The intelligence of the Aspie (as they often call themselves) is usually normal to genius level. This may not be immediately obvious, because their sensory issues tend to hold them back.

Aspies, like author Autistics, are often sensory defensive. This means that sounds, flashing lights, tastes, textures, and other sensory input can throw them into a sensory overload. When this happens, they may react in a seemingly unexpected manner. They may scream, strike out, or run away. If they are touched unexpectedly, this reaction may be brought on. If they strike out, it is not because they intend to be rude or harmful, but simply because their fight or flight response has engaged. The sensory input may actually be causing them pain.

Because the sensory issues can be so severe, Aspies are usually “picky eaters.” They may gag or even vomit most foods. They cannot be forced to eat what their body is telling them is wrong.

Aspies have “special interests.” These are things that they become obsessessed with and learn every detail about. A special interest may cause an Aspie to learn every detail about how vehicles run, or how many babies the average cat has. Special interests vary from Aspie to Aspie.

Aspies thrive on routine. If their routine is disrupted, they will react badly. They do not always know what is expected of them next.

Like other Autistics, they may perform repetitive movements or have nervous tics. They may flap their hands, twirl in a circle without getting dizzy, or pace the floors.

Aspies are usually friendly, but have a difficult time making friends. Children relate better to adults than to their peers. In fact, they seem to have little to no interest in interacting with their peers. They also do not always know what the correct social behavior is in a given situation. They may seem to have the wrong facial expression or say the wrong thing. They are not attempting to be rude. They do not know what to do or say.

Aspies can be hyperactive. One professional described the condition as being like having ADHD and Autism in one child.

Although Asperger’s can be difficult to deal with, getting to know these very special people can be very rewarding for all those involved.



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