Asperger’s syndrome also known as A.S is a form of autism. Autism is a developmental disorder, affecting interpersonal and communication skills. Autism is not just one specific disorder but occurs in a variety of forms and degrees. Autistic Spectrum Disorder is the term usually used to refer to the entire range. On this spectrum comes the condition A.S. A.S is found among all races, nationalities and social classes; the name comes from a man named Hans Asperger who was an Austrian physician who first described the syndrome in 1944.
The pattern of A.S includes:
• Lack of empathy not understanding social cures and others feelings
• Little ability to form friendship
• One sided conversations
• So focused on their own personal specific interest that there is no space for common interests suitable to their age
• “clumsy” movements in both their articulation and gross motor behaviour
• A love of routine – they are often upset when their routine changes unexpectedly
• Repetitive activities – children with A.S may well spin or watch objects spinning for a long time
• Very sensitive to noise, light and touch
“People with A.S perceive the world differently from everybody else. They find the rest of us strange and baffling.” – Attwood 1998 p.86
The way children with A.S perceive the world makes sense to them and they cannot change the way they think or act. However, with assistance, they are able to adjust their behaviour so as not to cause conflict and confusion with other children. Other children usually do not understand or put up with A.S behaviour. Children with A.S look just like other children, and they often have average or above average intelligence, yet for some reason cannot understand and relate with other people in a way other children of their age do. It can be hard for parents, teachers and peers to understand why these children have a lack of desire to interact with peers or inability to understand simple or social cues. They can be assumed to be selfish, where as they are actually would just rather play by themselves with a special interest of their own. Children with A.S do not take much notice of the reaction of the people listening to them and may talk on regardless of the listener’s interest and may appear insensitive to their feelings. When A.S children are listening to others, jokes, exaggerated language and metaphors can cause confusion: for example a person with A.S may be frightened at statements like “she bit my head off” and take it quite literally.
Children with A.S do not feel like a member of any specific group. They pursue their own particular interest in preference to that of the other children in their class or playground, leading to complete social isolation.