Fact sheet on communication issues arising from Asperger's syndrome


Aspergers syndrome is at the milder end of the autism spectrum. Where a child with autism may have great difficulty communicating or be mute, a child with Asperger's will generally be able to communicate but experience problems in social interaction, particularly with peers.


These problems can be severe or mild depending on the individual. Children with Asperger's syndrome are often the target of bullying at school due to their unusual behavior, language, interests, and impaired ability to perceive and respond in socially expected ways to nonverbal cues, particularly in interpersonal conflict. Children with Asperger's syndrome may be extremely literal and may have difficulty interpreting and responding to sarcasm or banter.


Common problems arising from communication issues

The above problems can even arise in the family; given an unfavorable family environment, the child may be subject to emotional abuse. A child or teen with Asperger’s syndrome is often puzzled by this mistreatment, unaware of what has been done incorrectly.


Unlike other pervasive development disorders, most children with Aspergers syndrome want to be social, but fail to socialize successfully, which can lead to later withdrawal and asocial behavior, especially in adolescence. At this stage of life especially, they risk being drawn into unsuitable and inappropriate friendships and social groups. People with Aspergers syndrome often get along a lot better with those considerably older or younger than them, rather than those their own age.


Advanced abilities and problems at school with asperger's

Children with Aspergers syndrome often display advanced abilities for their age in language, reading, mathematics, spatial skills, and/or music — sometimes into the “gifted” range — but this may be counterbalanced by considerable delays in other developmental areas. This combination of traits can lead to problems with teachers and other authority figures. A child with Aspergers syndrome might be regarded by teachers as a “problem child” or a “poor performer.”


The child's extremely low tolerance for what they perceive to be ordinary and mediocre tasks, such as typical homework assignments, can easily become frustrating; a teacher may well consider the child arrogant, spiteful, and insubordinate. Lack of support and understanding, in combination with the child's anxieties, can result in problematic behavior (such as severe tantrums, violent and angry outbursts, and withdrawal).


Adults with Asperger's syndrome

Although adults with Aspergers syndrome may have similar problems, they are not as likely to be given treatment as a child would. They may find it difficult finding employment or entering undergraduate or graduate schools because of poor interview skills or a low score on standardized or personality tests. They also may be more vulnerable to poverty and homelessness than the general population, because of their difficulty finding (and keeping) employment, lack of proper education, premature social skills, and other factors.


If they do become employed, they may be misunderstood, taken advantage of, paid less than those without Aspergers syndrome, and be subject to bullying and discrimination. Communication deficits may mean people at work have difficulty understanding the person with Aspergers syndrome, and problems with authority figures continue as difficult, tense relations with bosses and supervisors become prevalent.

People with Asperger’s syndrome report a feeling of being unwillingly detached from the world around them. They may have difficulty finding a life partner or getting married due to poor social skills and poverty. In a similar fashion to school bullying, the person with Aspergers syndrome is vulnerable to problems in their neighborhood, such as anti-social behavior and harassment. Due to social isolation, they can be seen as the ‘black sheep’ in the community and thus may be at risk of wrongful suspicions and allegations from others.


Positive aspects of Aspergers syndrome

On the other hand, some adults with Asperger’s syndrome do get married, get graduate degrees, become wealthy, and hold jobs. The intense focus and tendency to work things out logically often grants those people with Asperger's syndrome a high level of ability in their field of interest. When these special interests coincide with a materially or socially useful task, the person with Aspergers syndrome often can lead a profitable life. The child obsessed with naval architecture may grow up to be an accomplished shipwright.


Intervention for communication Problems

While there are many different therapies available, no one particular therapy is ideal. The diversity of Asperger's effects on communication mean that different therapies will suit different children. A speech therapist will often form part of the team that works with a child diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome. A comprehensive test will normally be done and therapies for early intervention chosen.


Ideally, early intervention starts during the preschool years and targets both behavior and communication, and involves parents or primary caregivers. Some children may respond well to very structured therapies such as Applied Behavior Analysis, while others may learn communication skills best in the home setting.


Close Aspergers fact sheet on communication here

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This autism fact sheet is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation. It is derivative of an autism-related articles at http://en.wikipedia.org

At the milder end of the autism spectrum, Asperger's syndrome still posese communication issues for children, with early intervention required to minimize developmental delays