People with Asperger syndrome can find it harder to read the signals that most of us take for granted. From people's facial expression, tone of voice and body language we can usually tell whether they are happy, angry or sad and respond accordingly. A person with Asperger syndrome may have difficulties in reading these signals. This means they find it more difficult to communicate and interact with others which can lead to high levels of anxiety and confusion.
Asperger syndrome is seen as part of the Autistic continuum and is a lifelong disability that affects how a person processes information and relates to other people. Autism is often described as a 'spectrum condition' because the condition affects people in many different ways.
While there are similarities with Autism, people with Asperger syndrome have fewer difficulties with speaking and are often of average, or above average, intelligence. They do not usually have the accompanying learning disabilities associated with Autism, but they may have specific learning difficulties. These may include Dyslexia and Dyspraxia or other conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Epilepsy.
People with Asperger syndrome sometimes find it difficult to express themselves emotionally and socially. For example, they may:
- have difficulty understanding gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice
- have difficulty knowing when to start or end a conversation and choosing topics to talk about
- use complex words and phrases but may not fully understand what they mean
- be very literal in what they say and can have difficulty understanding jokes, metaphor and sarcasm. For example, a person with Asperger syndrome may be confused by the phrase 'That's cool' when people use it to say something is good.
How we can help
With appropriate support and encouragement, people with Asperger syndrome can lead full and independent lives.
Our therapists will build up a profile of the person's communication skills, identifying strengths and areas of need. The person's needs may be associated with ASC or be part of another difficulty.
Our therapists can then provide advice and support to build on strengths and develop strategies to manage and reduce areas of need.