What is Asperger’s Syndrome?

Parents often first notice the symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome when their child starts preschool and begins to interact with other children as Asperger’s in children results in difficulties reading social situations and picking up on social cues.

Like other autism profiles, Asperger’s syndrome is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others.

Asperger’s Syndrome is a Pervasive Developmental Disorder that falls within the autistic spectrum. It is a life-long condition, which affects about 1 in 200 people, more commonly in men than women. Those with Asperger’s Syndrome are usually of average or above average intelligence.

The condition is characterised by difficulties with social interaction, social communication and flexibility of thinking or imagination. In addition, there may be sensory, motor and organisational difficulties.

toddler pulling a funny face

About Asperger’s Syndrome

This condition was first identified over 50 years ago by Hans Asperger, a Viennese paediatrician.

A pattern of behaviours and abilities was identified, predominantly amongst boys, including a lack of empathy, impaired imagination, difficulty in making friends, intense absorption in a special interest and often problems with motor co-ordination.

Whilst people with the condition will exhibit some or all of these characteristics to a greater or lesser degree, many tend to experience isolation and a lack of understanding in their everyday lives, which often results in frustration, anger, depression and a lack of self-esteem.

In particular, understanding and relating to other people, and taking part in everyday family, school, work and social life, can be harder. Other people appear to know, intuitively, how to communicate and interact with each other, yet can also struggle to build rapport with people with Asperger syndrome. People with Asperger’s may wonder why they are ‘different’ and feel their social differences mean people don’t understand them.

How Educational Psychology can Help

Educational Psychologists can help the school and parents understand Asperger’s in children, and work with a child / young person who has been diagnosed, or Asperger’s is suspected. They can inform teaching staff regarding how to support the young person, and maximise their learning.