What is Asperger Syndrome?
As soon as we meet a person we make judgements about them. From their facial expression, tone of voice and body language we can usually tell whether they are happy, angry or sad and respond accordingly.
People with Asperger syndrome can find it harder to read the signals that most of us take for granted. 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 a form of autism, which is a lifelong disability that affects how a person makes sense of the world, processes information and relates to other people. Autism is often described as a 'spectrum disorder' because the condition affects people in many different ways and to varying degrees.
Asperger syndrome is mostly a 'hidden disability'. This means that you can't tell that someone has the condition from their outward appearance. People with the condition have difficulties in three main areas. They are:
- social communication
- social interaction
- social imagination.
While there are similarities with autism, people with Asperger syndrome have fewer problems 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.
(Courtesy of the National Autistic Society)
Watch this fabulous video by Rome teenager Marta Masciarelli about how it feels to have Asperger's:
List of 75 different websites for Asperger’s:
Tony Attwood (his site includes a link to Marta's film)
National Autistic Society (UK)
Great site run by Alex Plank, a filmmaker diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of nine. Includes great video tips on how to deal with teasing.