Asperger syndrome is an Autistic Spectrum Disorder and shares some common characteristics with autism. Read on to know more about the general characteristics of this disorder.

Characteristics Of Aspergers

You might be aware of autism and Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Asperger syndrome (AS), which is also known as Asperger's syndrome or Asperger disorder, belongs to ASD. However, autism and Asperger syndrome are different from each other. Asperger syndrome is considered to be "high-functioning" and is identified in people who have average or above average intelligence whereas autism is a "low-functioning" disorder with many unusual behavioral patterns. Asperger syndrome is characterized by significant inconvenience in engaging in social interaction. Affected people show restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. Although an ASD, it differs from other disorders in the group by its relative conservation of linguistic and cognitive development. Such persons may also show physical clumsiness and unusual use of language. Asperger syndrome derived its name from Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger who studied about lack of nonverbal communication skills, limited empathy and physical clumsiness exhibited by some children. While the exact cause of this ailment remains unknown. There is no one-time treatment for this condition; behavioral therapy can be used. Learn more about this condition from the following section.
General Characteristics Of Asperger Syndrome
  • AS is characterized by difficulties in social interactions and communication, which hinder the individual’s overall personality development.
  • Like most of the developmental disorders, AS also begins during infancy or early childhood.
  • This syndrome exhibits a steady course without relapse and may show various other impairments resulting from maturation-related changes in brain.
  • Asperger syndrome is characterized by a range of symptoms rather than a single noticeable symptom.
  • One-sided verbosity (using excess words), restricted prosody (lack of rhythm, stress and intonation in speech), intense preoccupation with a narrow subject etc. are typical symptoms of this condition. 
Social Interaction Characteristics
  • Lack of empathy is a prominent characteristic of Asperger syndrome. Affected people cannot understand the feelings and emotions of other people.
  • Individuals with this disorder usually fail to make friendships with others. They are generally not capable of seeking shared enjoyments or achievements with others.
  • They suffer from lack of social and emotional reciprocity to a considerable degree. Impairment of non-verbal communication like eye contact, facial expressions, gestures and postures also appear in common. 
  • Individuals suffering from AS may get engaged in long conversations about their favorite subjects, without recognizing whether the other person is interested in the conversation or not. They cannot recognize your gestures even if you express your dislike.
  • The occurrence of violent or criminal behavior in such people is just a hypothesis; it is not supported with ample evidence.
Repetitive And Repetitive Behaviors
  • AS affected people are generally rule-oriented; they may seem resistant to change and prefer following fixed routines. They may even react fiercely if anyone compels them to change the order.
  • They prefer to be in familiar places, with familiar people and prefer wearing some specific clothes.
  • People affected with Asperger syndrome show abnormal interests and behaviors. They may sometimes seem to be abnormally focused as well.
  • AS affected person may pursue specific, narrow interests; they may collect information about a relatively narrow topic while still unaware about the broader aspects of the same topic. For example, the person may be interested in a particular model of a camera but, may not have any idea about photography whatsoever. However, this special interest in a specific area may not last long; the areas of interest may change from time to time though the nature of collecting information remains the same.
  • The affected person may use some specific gestures repeatedly. These gestures may include movements such as twisting or flapping hands or even complex whole-body movements.  
Speech And Language Characteristics
  • Abnormalities in speech include abrupt transitions, verbosity, use of wrong metaphors, formal or idiosyncratic speech (the person may use some words which he uses to denote something but, may signify something else for others), etc.
  • They may have pronoun reversal problems (for example, referring oneself as you, he and she or by name).
  • Such people may get involved in monologue (talking to oneself), and their speech is usually loud, jerky and fast. It might even be incoherent and illogical, marked with verbosity.
  • AS persons may have excellent vocabulary but, at the same time, they may face difficulties in understanding figurative language, which has an exaggerated meaning, often different from what the word generally refers to. 
Cognitive Learning
  • Some AS affected individuals show excellent memory in certain areas.
  • Their perception of fear is different. They may get scared even in secure situations whilst staying fearless in dangerous situations.
  • They may have exceptional skills in some areas while being extremely weak in others.
  • AS affected persons often have concentration problems and may not be able to concentrate on a specific task for long time.
Other Characteristics
  • AS affected individuals often have good visual and auditory perception. Some individuals can even make out small changes in the arrangements of objects that they are well acquainted to.
  • AS affected person may suffer from difficulty in sleeping, like insomnia, frequent waking up during night and difficulty in returning to sleep after that or early morning awakenings.
  • They may get over stimulated with lights, sounds, smells etc.
  • Their behavior may not match their intensions.
  • Such people may need comfort items like some blankets, toys etc. to calm down and can show unusual attachment to some specific things. 
Asperger syndrome is related to autism but the symptoms and characteristics are not exactly the same. Like autism, AS also has wide range of characteristics, which may not be the same for two individuals with the same ailment.

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