What is Asperger's Syndrome? (2023)

What is Asperger's Syndrome? (1)

Asperger’s Characteristics

  • Intellectual or Artistic Interest
  • Speech Differences
  • Delayed Motor Development
  • Poor Social Skills
  • The Development of Harmful Psychological Problems
  • Detail-oriented
  • Persistence
  • Not Socially-driven
  • High Integrity
  • Masters of Routine

In 1994, the American Psychiatric Association published the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM-IV). Using the DSM-IV, individuals suspected of having an autism-related disorder could be diagnosed as having:

  • Autistic Disorder
  • Asperger’s Disorder
  • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified

Asperger Syndrome was a diagnosis that described someone with autism that needed limited supports. It was also known as high functioning autism. In 2013, the DSM- removed Asperger’s as its own distinct diagnosis. The DSM-5 created a general umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder with varying levels of severity. While the diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome is no longer made, the term is still used by many people to describe some individuals with Level 1 ASD or those who were diagnosed prior to the changes in 2013.

So, what is Asperger Syndrome? Individuals who were diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome may have a number of challenges. For example, they have difficulty with communication in a variety of ways. They may have self-imposed rules or patterns that are usually very restrictive. While this is not an exhaustive list and not all individuals with Asperger’s have the same characteristics, we discuss 10 signs of Asperger’s in adults and adolescents.

Related resource:Top 15 Online Applied Behavior Analysis Bachelor’s Degree and BCaBA Coursework Programs

Intellectual or Artistic Interest

What is Asperger's Syndrome? (2)

Many individuals diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome will have at least one particular field of intellectual or artistic interest and talent. They show great skill in their area of interest at an early age and proceed to effectively excel at it later in life. Wolfgang A. Mozart is a great example of a historical figure with Asperger’s traits. Mozart was extremely skilled at composing music; he was known to compose as a young child and continued doing so late into life. Individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome or Level 1 autism spectrum disorder may thrive in fields such as:

(Video) What Is Asperger's Syndrome?

  • photography
  • webpage design
  • accounting
  • engineering
  • data entry

See Also:What are the 10 Most Common Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Speech Differences

Individuals with autism spectrum disorders like Asperger’s may have speaking differences such as:

  • lack of verbal rhythm
  • monotone pitch
  • a peculiar inflection on certain words

Adults with Asperger’s Syndrome have the same characteristics since many do not outgrow it. They are often unable to control their voice’s volume according to their surroundings. It is not uncommon to hear individuals diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome speak loudly in quiet places such as a place of worship or a library. Speech therapy can be a beneficial tool to help individuals with Asperger Syndrome who have problems with speech or communication skills.

Delayed Motor Development

What is Asperger's Syndrome? (3)

Some children with Asperger syndrome have delayed development with fine and gross motor skills. Children with delayed fine motor skills may struggle to hold a pencil correctly or when grasping objects with their fingers. Delayed gross motor skills may include the inability to throw a ball overhand or swing on monkey bars even after repeated demonstration. This characteristic varies widely and can be seen in both mild and more severe cases. An individual with Asperger’s may benefit from occupational therapy.

Poor Social Skills

Because of their limited fields of interest and low emotional ability, an individual with Asperger’s Syndrome may feel isolated through most of their childhood and into adulthood. They do try to make friends, but they are often either temporarily successful or completely unsuccessful due to their lack of social skills. In the end, they sometimes display a lack of interest or even curiosity for the discussions, thoughts, and opinions of the people they temporarily befriend.

(Video) What is asperger syndrome? | Mental health | NCLEX-RN | Khan Academy

Since autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disorder that targets social and communication skills, it is not surprising that an individual with Asperger’s Syndrome might need support in this area. While they don’t typically have language delays as seen in classic autism, they may still face challenges in social situations. Some children with Asperger’s Syndrome benefit from social skills training or other therapeutic supports.

The Development of Harmful Psychological Problems

What is Asperger's Syndrome? (4)

The potential for the development of harmful psychological disorders typically occurs during puberty or immediately thereafter. The most common disorders are anxiety and depression. A small cohort study in the UK studied suicidal ideation in men and women diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. Adults were significantly more likely to report suicidal ideation over the course of their life than the general population.

In 2021, a study conducted by the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention found that teenagers and young adults with autism spectrum disorders were more likely to attempt suicide and die by suicide than teens who aren’t diagnosed with ASD. Obviously more research is needed in this area.

Some individuals with Asperger’s benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy to address anxiety and depression.

Detail-Oriented

Many of the above-mentioned traits are not always the easiest to deal with, but there are also many, great traits that can accompany this initial step on the autism spectrum. Detail orientation that is above the likes of the average person is one of those very useful perks. There are countless occupations, sports, hobbies, and other pursuits in which a high degree of attention to detail directly translates to the potential for great success.

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An individual with Asperger’s Syndrome or Level 1 Autism Spectrum Disorder may have the ability to notice small details found in:

  • ideas
  • number patterns
  • books
  • visual images
  • music

People with Asperger’s Syndrome may have a strong work ethic and a commitment to a job well done. They may excel in areas like equipment design and accounting where every detail matters.

Persistence

No matter what pursuit one may choose to take in life, one of the utmost important, underlying attributes that can help in all things is persistence. The ability to persist where many others might fail is a common perk to having Asperger’s Syndrome. Accomplishing the mission at nearly any cost and weathering any kind of storm can truly get someone to incredible places vocationally and personally.

Not Socially-Driven

On one hand, being socially driven can be a great source from which to gain personal motivation in this ever increasingly social world. On the other hand, this can be a considerable drawback in certain situations. This is not a hurdle likely encountered by those with Asperger’s Syndrome, as social concerns are often lower on this population’s priority list than with many others.

High Integrity

What is Asperger's Syndrome? (5)

Another key trait that many with Asperger’s have that many others admire is a high level of integrity. Many with this condition do not get involved in complex and unnecessary “drama”, do not play “head games” with others, and can be quite straightforward in their intentions and loyalties. This, in itself, is a great feature to have in a:

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  • personal friend
  • partner
  • business associate
  • employee

Masters of Routine

What is Asperger's Syndrome? (6)

One of the most common signs of Asperger’s in adults is that of regimen and a great propensity to flourish in matters of routine and patterns. Whereas the average person may struggle to conform to certain routines or components of certain routines, individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome will typically take quite well to such pattern and make significant strides therein.

The benefits of this propensity are also many. Routines can help bring comfort to situations that could cause anxiety. They can help an individual with Asperger’s deal with depression or uncertainty in life. Most individuals with Asperger’s face some level of discomfort with change but not all will display outward signs.

Additional Resources for Characteristics of a Person with Asperger Syndrome

For those with further interest in Asperger’s Syndrome, there are a number of great, online resources with which follow-up is highly suggested. The following represent some of those very contacts.

Psychology Today

Psychology Today is arguably the foremost psychology journal and free, online information source out there right now. Among its many, valuable assets, there is plenty to also learn just on Asperger’s Syndrome alone.

Autism Speaks

Anyone looking for information on autism or Asperger’s Syndrome should be certain to spend some time at the website for Autism Speaks. This organization is a leader in autism and Asperger’s awareness, lobby, education, networking resources, and more.

(Video) The truth about Asperger's syndrome and Autism

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

The National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke offers the US government’s public resources and stance on Asperger’s Syndrome and autism spectrum disorders today. From treatment information to organizational links, clinical trial info, and more, this government resource is a virtual one-stop-shop.

The Asperger Syndrome diagnosis has moved through an evolution in the way it’s viewed, treated, and studied in recent times. Those with this condition, however, have always displayed many of the same types of characteristics throughout time. This Asperger’s symptoms checklist includes some of the most commonly seen characteristics in those with Asperger Syndrome, no matter how the science itself evolves.

Related:

  • The Benefits of OT, PT, and Speech Therapy in Children with Autism
  • What Are the Signs That My Child Might Have Autism?
  • How Can I Handle Challenging Behavior From a Child with Autism?
  • 5 Fun Travel Destinations for Children with Autism

FAQs

How can you tell if someone is Aspergers? ›

Signs and symptoms of Asperger's syndrome
  • Lack of interpersonal relationship skills and instincts.
  • Inability to express one's own feelings.
  • Often verbalizes internal thoughts that most would keep private.
  • Flat tone / speaking style that lacks pitch.
  • Appears to lack empathy.
  • Has a difficult time interacting with peers.

What is the difference between Aspergers and autism? ›

What distinguishes Asperger's Disorder from classic autism are its less severe symptoms and the absence of language delays. Children with Asperger's Disorder may be only mildly affected, and they frequently have good language and cognitive skills.

What is the main cause of Aspergers? ›

While the exact cause of Asperger's isn't known, many experts believe the disorder is probably triggered by a variety of factors. A combination of genetic, neurological, and environmental issues might work together to cause the syndrome.

What is Aspergers symptoms in adults? ›

Adults with Asperger's: How they struggle, how they thrive
  • Hypersensitivities (to lights, sounds, tastes, etc.)
  • Difficulty with the give and take of conversation.
  • Difficulty with nonverbal conversation skills (distance, loudness, tone, etc.)
  • Uncoordinated movements or clumsiness.
  • Anxiety and depression.
12 May 2021

What are the 3 main symptoms of Asperger's? ›

What are the Symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome?
  • Inappropriate or minimal social interactions.
  • Conversations that almost always revolve around themselves or a certain topic, rather than others.
  • Not understanding emotions well or having less facial expression than others.

What happens if Aspergers goes untreated? ›

Some of the effects of unaddressed or untreated Asperger's syndrome may include: Social isolation. Difficulty making and keeping friends. Challenges in finding and maintaining steady employment.

At what age is Aspergers usually diagnosed? ›

Problems are usually obvious by the age of 3, but children are often not diagnosed with Asperger syndrome until they are 7 years old. Your child's doctor will look for a group of behaviors.

What is Aspergers now called? ›

Asperger syndrome, or Asperger's, is a previously used diagnosis on the autism spectrum. In 2013, it became part of one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (DSM-5).

Does Aspergers run in the family? ›

The cause of Asperger syndrome, like most ASDs, is not fully understood, but there is a strong genetic basis, which means it does tend to run in families. Multiple environmental factors are also thought to play an important role in the development of all ASDs.

Do Aspergers have empathy? ›

They may manifest feelings less outwardly, or their facial expression might not match what the individual is feeling inside. People with Asperger profiles do have empathy, despite an unfortunate stigma that suggests otherwise.

Does Asperger's get worse with age? ›

Asperger's syndrome is lifelong. But symptoms tend to improve over time. Adults with this condition can learn to understand their own strengths and weaknesses. And they can improve their social skills.

What are people with Aspergers good at? ›

Good verbal skills; rich vocabulary. Ability to absorb and retain large amounts of information, especially about topics of special interest. Ability to think in visual images. Be self-motivated, independent learners.

Can Aspergers people love? ›

But love is an emotion that can be fully experienced by nearly anyone, despite differences in perception, social interaction patterns, or emotional expression. In other words, someone with Asperger's is capable of falling in love. There are, however, some potential challenges both of you could experience along the way.

How do you get tested for Aspergers? ›

How do you get a “formal” diagnosis of Asperger/Autism spectrum difference (ASD)? Many individuals pursue neuropsychological testing with a neuropsychologist (PhD) or a psychiatrist (MD). As a result of this testing, it may be determined that the individual has ASD, something related to ASD, or something different.

What does mild Aspergers look like? ›

displays unusual nonverbal communication, such as lack of eye contact, few facial expressions, or awkward body postures and gestures. does not empathize with or seems insensitive to others' feelings and has a hard time “reading” other people or may have difficulty understanding humor.

How can you tell if someone is on the spectrum? ›

Other Characteristics
  1. Delayed language skills.
  2. Delayed movement skills.
  3. Delayed cognitive or learning skills.
  4. Hyperactive, impulsive, and/or inattentive behavior.
  5. Epilepsy or seizure disorder.
  6. Unusual eating and sleeping habits.
  7. Gastrointestinal issues (for example, constipation)
  8. Unusual mood or emotional reactions.

Can Aspergers show up later in life? ›

Symptoms Develop Later

It's entirely possible that someone with Asperger syndrome would not present noticeable symptoms until later on in their lives. As social interactions become more complex, their difficulty in responding to and understanding those interactions becomes more pronounced.

Can Aspergers be cured? ›

Currently there is no cure for ASD. Nor are there any home remedies or herbal supplements proven to cure Asperger's syndrome or related conditions. But several non-surgical treatments exist to help manage many of the condition's symptoms including depression, social anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

What does Aspergers do to the brain? ›

In people with Asperger's syndrome, the area that lights up is the prefrontal cortex, a seat of judgment and planning. They are thinking out the meaning of the expression instead of responding to it immediately.

Is Asperger's disability? ›

Because Asperger's syndrome is an Autism Spectrum Disorder, it is among the conditions that qualify for disability benefits. Asperger's syndrome is classified in the Social Security Administration's blue book under autistic disorders and other pervasive developmental disorders.

Is Aspergers a learning disability? ›

What is Asperger's syndrome? People with Asperger's syndrome see, hear and feel the world differently to other people. People with Asperger's syndrome will not usually have a learning disability, however they may experience challenges such as specific learning difficulties, anxiety or other conditions.

Why is Asperger's no longer used? ›

The second reason to rename the diagnosis is that it no longer exists as an official diagnosis according to the American Psychiatric Association. In 2013, it was reclassified as autism spectrum disorder. And so today, you can't receive a diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome in the United States.

What are signs of high-functioning autism? ›

Signs and Symptoms of High Functioning Autism
  • Repetitiveness. HFA is partly characterized by anobsession with a particular subject or activity. ...
  • Emotional sensitivity. ...
  • Social problems. ...
  • Language peculiarities. ...
  • Sensory difficulties. ...
  • Little or no attention to caregivers.
8 Oct 2019

What is an Asperger's meltdown? ›

A meltdown is where a person with autism or Asperger's temporarily loses control because of emotional responses to environmental factors. They aren't usually caused by one specific thing. Triggers build up until the person becomes so overwhelmed that they can't take in any more information.

Which parent is responsible for autism? ›

Due to its lower prevalence in females, autism was always thought to have a maternal inheritance component. However, research also suggests that the rarer variants associated with autism are mostly inherited from the father.

Can Aspergers be passed from mother to child? ›

When autism (or Aspergers) runs in families it is clear that they are at least partially inherited from the parents and/or the extended family. The parents or other family members may not necessarily have a diagnosis, but are carriers of genetic anomalies which in combination may cause autism in their offspring.

What does mild Aspergers look like? ›

displays unusual nonverbal communication, such as lack of eye contact, few facial expressions, or awkward body postures and gestures. does not empathize with or seems insensitive to others' feelings and has a hard time “reading” other people or may have difficulty understanding humor.

Can someone have Asperger's and not know it? ›

Most people are unaware of the symptoms of Asperger's syndrome. They include an unusually high IQ and a difficulty surviving in the social world. The fact that the symptoms vary in gender doesn't help.

How do they test for Aspergers in adults? ›

How do you get a “formal” diagnosis of Asperger/Autism spectrum difference (ASD)? Many individuals pursue neuropsychological testing with a neuropsychologist (PhD) or a psychiatrist (MD). As a result of this testing, it may be determined that the individual has ASD, something related to ASD, or something different.

How do I know my husband has Aspergers? ›

They have a hard time reading verbal and nonverbal cues like body language and facial expressions, and may have trouble making eye contact. They sometimes don't pick up on “how” something was said, only on “what” was said. People with Asperger's may also lack empathy, the ability to understand the feelings of others.

What are people with Aspergers good at? ›

Good verbal skills; rich vocabulary. Ability to absorb and retain large amounts of information, especially about topics of special interest. Ability to think in visual images. Be self-motivated, independent learners.

Do Aspergers have empathy? ›

They may manifest feelings less outwardly, or their facial expression might not match what the individual is feeling inside. People with Asperger profiles do have empathy, despite an unfortunate stigma that suggests otherwise.

What is Aspergers now called? ›

Asperger syndrome, or Asperger's, is a previously used diagnosis on the autism spectrum. In 2013, it became part of one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (DSM-5).

What is an Asperger's meltdown? ›

A meltdown is where a person with autism or Asperger's temporarily loses control because of emotional responses to environmental factors. They aren't usually caused by one specific thing. Triggers build up until the person becomes so overwhelmed that they can't take in any more information.

Does Asperger's get worse with stress? ›

Asperger syndrome: triggering factors

If there are deviations from rules or if they have been introduced to new people, many people with Asperger's experience stress. This stress makes it so that their symptoms get worse or that they do not know what to do with themselves and therefore get angry.

Can Aspergers be cured? ›

Currently there is no cure for ASD. Nor are there any home remedies or herbal supplements proven to cure Asperger's syndrome or related conditions. But several non-surgical treatments exist to help manage many of the condition's symptoms including depression, social anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

How does Asperger's affect relationships? ›

Personal relationships of all kinds may be challenging for autistic people. Small talk may be unappealing to them, and conversations may cause a lot of anxiety. This can make it hard to make friends and start a romantic relationship. Many autistic people enjoy solitude over socializing.

Can you develop Aspergers later in life? ›

Symptoms Develop Later

It's entirely possible that someone with Asperger syndrome would not present noticeable symptoms until later on in their lives. As social interactions become more complex, their difficulty in responding to and understanding those interactions becomes more pronounced.

What are the signs of high functioning autism in adults? ›

Common signs of autism in adults include:
  • finding it hard to understand what others are thinking or feeling.
  • getting very anxious about social situations.
  • finding it hard to make friends or preferring to be on your own.
  • seeming blunt, rude or not interested in others without meaning to.
  • finding it hard to say how you feel.

How does an Aspie show love? ›

Aspies tend to express love through practical actions, whereas NTs are more likely to express love through words or symbolic actions.

What percentage of Asperger marriages end in divorce? ›

Adults with Aspergers syndrome who marry often find it difficult to stay married; some initial research puts the divorce rate at approximately eighty percent. The resulting split can be fraught with intense or “high” conflict or domestic violence.

Can Aspergers fall in love? ›

But love is an emotion that can be fully experienced by nearly anyone, despite differences in perception, social interaction patterns, or emotional expression. In other words, someone with Asperger's is capable of falling in love. There are, however, some potential challenges both of you could experience along the way.

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