New Mexico Autism Society

What is Asperger's Syndrome?

Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) is generally considered to be a form of autism. Unlike the more severe forms of autism, people with AS exhibit little or no impairments in their speech (at most a mild delay in early childhood). But like many people with autism, they have a level of intelligence at least in the average range and often in the above-average or even superior ranges. And as with all other forms of autism it is characterized by varying degrees of deficits in social interactions and non-verbal communications. More specifically, people with AS have difficulties, sometimes severe, in perceiving the world from the perspective of another person and in “picking up” on the social “cues” (facial expressions, bodily gestures, tone of voice, etc.) that constitute such a significant part of many human interactions. As a result, having AS can mean having great abilities or talents in certain areas, but can also mean never living independently, never holding down a job for any extended period of time, and perhaps never even enjoying an intimate relationship. At the very least, it often means being an outcast and even subject to victimization in school, in the workplace, and in personal life.

Although there is no single distinguishing trait or characteristic common to all people with AS, and very few that are exclusive to this condition, there are numerous behaviors and traits that are commonly observed in individuals who have Asperger’s Syndrome. These include:

In addition, a few more specific behaviors and traits often observed in younger children with AS include:

As in other forms of autism, people who have Asperger’s Syndrome sometimes have very acute sensory sensitivities. In particular, they can react strongly to sounds or visual stimuli that are not even perceptible to most people (such as the high-frequency sound emitted from the back of a television or the “flickering” of a fluorescent light). The Global and Regional Asperger’s Support Partnership has a local support group that meets monthly in Albuquerque for teens and adults with Asperger’s Syndrome.

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