When we meet someone, we make all sorts of judgement calls just by looking at the person. We can often guess their age or status. We also use the expression on people’s faces as well as the tone of their voice. We know if they are happy, sad, or angry. We then act accordingly to what we have read.
Some people can’t do this naturally. People with Aspergers Syndrome find it very hard to read these signals. Therefore they have difficulty to communicate and interact with others.
Aspergers Syndrome is a form of autism. It describes people at the higher end of autism.
As with autism children and adults there are some similar traits these include
Difficulty in communicating Difficulty in social relationships Restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviour, interest, and activities.
However, children with Aspergers Syndrome usually have fewer problems with their language. They speak fluently though their words may sound stiff and formal.
Children with Aspergers Syndrome have average or above average intelligence. They can therefore be mainstreamed into a school. They will need support and encouragement to make good progress.
They will often excel in learning facts and figures though they may find it hard to think in abstract ways. They may often have difficulty in understanding another person’s point of view. They find it difficult to understand what is going to happen next.
They often can’t see the point of a story. They often can’t connect between the start of tact and what will be the result. It is important to explain things in a way that they understand. They may repeat everything parrot fashion, but it doesn’t mean they understand.
It is likely that your grandchild may develop an almost obsessive interest in a hobby or collection. Their interest usually involves arranging or memorising facts. It could be that they remember a bus or train timetable. They may remember all the statistics about rugby.
If you are taking your grandchild shopping and they have a fit in the middle of the supermarket. They may not necessarily be misbehaving. It could be that the fluorescent lights bother them. They often see the particles of the light moving around. You may find it easier to go shopping by yourself. If you do decide to take your grandchild shopping a good idea is to explain exactly what you are going to get. Take photos of the supermarket and show them before leaving the house.
There is no cure for Asperger Syndrome. Children with it will become adults with Aspergers Syndrome. However, much can be achieved with appropriate support and education.
With time and patience children with Aspergers Syndrome can be taught basic social skills that are required for everyday life.
Please consult a specialist or talk to your teacher if you have any concerns.
My thanks to Autism New Zealand Inc for permission to publish this article.