In this short article I will attempt to outline Aspergers Syndrome characteristics. Firstly Aspergers is described as an autism spectrum disorder, in that it shares many of the same characteristics of more “classical” autism. Although they are both on the same continuum there are definite differences between children with Aspergers Syndrome and Autism. You can see this in numerous characteristics in their social interactions, language and development over time. High Functioning Autism is very much like Asperger’s Syndrome except that the professionals seem to apply that diagnosis to children who were non-verbal when they were younger. Because people with Aspergers Syndrome usually do not have delayed language they are usually considered to be at the higher end of the autistic spectrum (also can be known as higher functioning).
Children with Asperger’s have a number of characteristics which are outlined below:
Firstly Asperger’s is much more common in boys than in girls. In fact the boy to girl ratio is about 10 boys to each girl. This was found out in research by C.Gillberg in Sweden in 1989. People with Aspergers have problems with social skills, have difficulties with transitions or changes and prefer things to be the same. As you can imagine this makes it very difficult for people with Aspergers to cope with outside world. People with Aspergers often have obsessive routines and may be preoccupied with a particular subject of interest. This could be as diverse as collecting bus numbers to rare butterflies but often they will become “expert” on that subject. They have trouble understanding nonverbal cues (such as body language) and often a person with Aspergers has difficulty understanding proper body space (or “personal space”). Again outlining the huge difficulties for them in our social world. They may also be overly sensitive to sounds, tastes, smells, and sights. For example the person with Aspergers may prefer soft clothing, certain foods, and be bothered by sounds or lights no one else seems to hear or see.
It’s important to remember that the person with Aspergers sees the world very differently. Children with Aspergers are easily overwhelmed by small changes. So any sudden change of plan during the day needs to be explained otherwise it could cause upset. They are very sensitive to environmental stressors (things that may affect them in their immediate environment such as people, television programs or sudden movements – in fact anything really), and sometimes they engage in rituals (e.g. repeating certain behaviors again and again). They are anxious and tend to worry obsessively when they do not know what to expect; stress, tiredness and sensory overload (too much noise, light or crowds) can easily throw them off balance.
This article is an attempt to give you a brief overview of Aspergers Syndrome characteristics. If you have a family member with Aspergers it is so important to have a clear understanding of these characteristics in order to be best able to help that person. Because once you have a good understanding you can begin to act and behave in ways that will help both you and that person develop a better relationship.