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From the warm-hearted, very experienced Dr Tony Attwood, a summary of the features and challenges of Asperger’s Syndrome in children and adults. In my experience, articles such as these are merely a starting point for understanding, as many people don’t ‘tick all the boxes’ even if they do have significant neurological differences.

One of the reasons I am posting this article is that I regularly see families who are struggling with the challenges of Asperger’s (and often ADHD) and don’t even know it. There are complex sensory processing and cognitive challenges facing those in the Asperger’s/ADHD population. Learning about them has been a wonderful, helpful journey for us. Hopefully this article will at least raise awareness and understanding. Following this article will be one on ADHD.

What is Asperger’s Syndrome? 

by Dr Tony Attwood

Children with Asperger’s syndrome have the following characteristics:

  • Delayed social maturity and social reasoning.
  • Difficulty making friends and often teased by other children.
  • Difficulty with the communication and control of emotions.
  • Unusual language abilities that include advanced vocabulary and syntax but delayed conversation skills, unusual prosody and a tendency to be pedantic.
  • A fascination with a topic that is unusual in intensity or focus.
  • An unusual profile of learning abilities.
  • A need for assistance with some self-help and organizational skills.
  • Clumsiness in terms of gait and coordination.
  • Sensitivity to specific sounds, aromas, textures or touch.

The advantages of a diagnosis can be:

  • Being recognized as having genuine difficulties coping with experiences that others find easy and enjoyable.
  • A positive change in other people’s expectations, acceptance and support.
  • Compliments rather than criticism with regard to social competence.
  • Acknowledgement of confusion and exhaustion in social situations.
  • Schools can access resources to help the child and class teacher.
  • An adult can access specialized support services for employment and further education.
  • Greater self-understanding, self-advocacy and better decision making with regard to careers, friendships and relationships.
  • A sense of identification with a valued ‘culture’.
  • The person no longer feels stupid, defective or insane.

Read the rest of Tony’s article here.