If you’ve been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, have a sibling or friend who has it, or you’ve heard of it and are wondering what it is, you probably have a lot of questions. Read on for more information and answers to common questions about this syndrome.
What does the name Asperger’s Syndrome mean?
Asperger’s Syndrome is the full name for a neurological (brain) condition that is a mild form of an “autism spectrum disorder”. The term Asperger’s comes from the name of the pediatrician (Hans Asperger) who first observed a group of children who had the same group of symptoms that make up this syndrome.
What are the symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome?
Someone with Asperger’s Syndrome may:
- Have little or no expression when they speak
- May not understand other people’s verbal or facial expressions
- Have trouble expressing and understanding emotions
- Move their body (or body parts such as fingers or hands) in an awkward way
- Be preoccupied with one or two very specific topics or hobbies and have little or no interest in anything else
- Dislike change and prefer a fixed routine
These symptoms may lead someone with Asperger’s to feel awkward or uncomfortable in social situations, and they have trouble making friends or “fitting in”.
What causes Asperger’s Syndrome?
The exact cause of Asperger’s Syndrome isn’t known yet, but researchers are doing studies to try and understand it better. What we do know is that it’s a condition that a person is born with, and it also runs in families.
Can someone with Asperger’s Syndrome get better?
Yes. There are things that can help, including talking with caring adults, and/or taking medication.
A person with Asperger’s Syndrome can learn how to communicate better, learn how to manage social situations, and also learn how to cope with their feelings. People who can help include health care providers, counselors, occupational therapists, and parents/guardians. All of these adults can help someone with Asperger’s develop and learn new skills, and appreciate the skills and interests they already have.
If you have Asperger’s, here are a few tips that might help you:
- Talk with a counselor who can help you understand things you have difficulty with, and can help you feel better about yourself
- Keep to a schedule or routine
- Explore your interests at home and in school
- Participate in group activities with other people who like the same things as you and can help you develop stronger social skills
- Talk with other teens/young adults with Asperger’s