This is a question that seems to be asked increasingly in our modern society. From engineers and computer programmers to quantum physicists, the highly intelligent but socially awkward populations of society are eventually beginning to find answers to the question they have always been busy with – “why am I different”.

Tragically the people that are asking the question are often people that should have been diagnosed with the condition earlier in life, due to failures in the health and education system. It is only now that famous celebrities are coming out that Asperger’s Syndrome is now in vogue.

According to medical sources, it is listed as a behavioral disorder, but there is much more to it than that. It can be described as a ‘hidden disability’ meaning that you cannot recognise the condition from any outward appearance[1]

Asperger’s has many behavioural signifiers, including difficulties in the three main areas of social communication, social interaction and social imagination. For example, subtleties in difference in tone of voice and facial expression, jokes, sarcasm, non-literal meanings and metaphors can be misunderstood, which often manifests as a perceptible social awkwardness. This can create difficulties in maintaining conventional friendships and relationships; Behaviour may sometimes appear to others as clumsy or inappropriate due to an inability to read “between the lines” and adhere to “unwritten” social conventions.The most notable and dysfunctional characteristic of Asperger’s is a lack of demonstrative empathy, which brings with it a lack of emotional and social reciprocity.[5] This in turn can often lead to other problems such as feelings of isolation or depression or a strong belief within an individual that they somehow don’t “fit in”.

What is Asperger's Syndrome?
Another characteristic often associated with Asperger’s is a difficulty to imagine different future outcomes to set events and a tendency to repeat a set pattern or patterns of behaviour leading to a narrow or limited pursuit of rigid interests, such as an interest in numbers or specific details[6]. In children, this characteristic can manifest as a difficulty to engage in “let’s pretend” games, and a preference instead for games involving logic or systems, for example a child with Asperger’s may avoid the dressing up box but excel at maths or logic problems.

Technically Asperger’s Syndrome is classified as a type of Autism Spectrum Disorder, but for readers of this blog and our email course you will understand that there is some debate about how similar it actually is to Autism. People with the syndrome are often highly functioning and are able to cope and succeed in the world unlike other people on the Autism Spectrum.

Recent medical studies have actually discovered that the brains of those with Asperger’s Syndrome are different to those with classic Autism. You will also be interested to know that the exact symptoms develop differently in those with Asperger’s. As far as classic Autism goes, many symptoms can be identified early but with Asperger’s the symptoms come around a lot later.

The brains of people with Asperger’s, are fundamentally wired differently. Instead of thinking in language like most people do, one is more likely to think in pictures if one has the syndrome.

In reality what this means is an entirely different way of thinking about the world around them. Extremely intelligent people who in layman’s terms can  do some of the most complicated tasks and find solutions to difficult problems.

The downside of course is that dealing with social becomes very difficult. When one thinks differently to the norm, it is very difficult to identify and communicate with others. Things that most people take for granted in the communication process such as small talk, being able to identify the body language and emotions of other people are often challenging. All of these skills are things that we believe can be learned but the default position is that they are very difficult.

Doctors are reluctant to make an official diagnosis, due to miseducation or a preference to try and identify the most prominent symptoms. We get many emails from people who are frustrated that their doctors won’t recognize their condition, while our questionnaire is great we do recommend that people seek out an official diagnosis. Because of the complications involved we made this post which should help in the process

[1]The Autism Society’s website: http://www.autism.org.uk/about-autism/autism-and-asperger-syndrome-an-introduction/what-is-asperger-syndrome.aspx

[2]Peer reviewed website kidshealth.org http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/brain/asperger.html

[3]Klin A (2006). . “Autism and Asperger syndrome: an overview”. Rev Bras Psiquiatr 28 (suppl 1): S3–S11. doi:10.1590/S1516-44462006000500002. PMID 16791390.

[4]Baskin JH, Sperber M, Price BH (2006). “Asperger syndrome revisited”. Rev Neurol Dis 3 (1): 1–7. PMID .

[5]McPartland J, Klin A (2006). “Asperger’s syndrome”. Adolesc Med Clin 17 (3): 771–88. doi:10.1016/j.admecli.2006.06.010. PMID 17030291

[6]The Autism Society’s website: http://www.autism.org.uk/about-autism/autism-and-asperger-syndrome-an-introduction/what-is-asperger-syndrome.aspx

 

14 thoughts on “What is Aspergers Syndrome?
  1. Julianakondratas says:

    My name is Juliana I am writing this because I think I have a grandson who has Asperger’s I’ve been looking this up in the last year because he’s been having a lot of problems communicating with his family argument fight nobody understands him goes from 0 to 100 says he hates the world he hates his mother he hates his grandmother everything I read up on Asperger’s is him since he was thirteen I started noticing the change he is now 21 he scares me he was such a good kid very quiet to himself never bothered anybody only have one friend. I see the difference in him since he was a child until now he’s angry at the world he’s angry at his mom and especially me and I don’t know why because we’re so close. He has funny ways of doing things he has routine that he has to do if he doesn’t do it it takes his whole day off meaning his whole day goes wrong when it’s not the way he wants to do it he change his clothes before time the day shower 3 times a day he beats on his girlfriend he’s got two assaults on his girlfriend’s two misdemeanors but now he’s on probation and I keep telling him he needs to see it because I know he has Asperger’s I don’t know what to do he’s going to come right now and family counseling I talk to his counselor but without him signing papers they would not let me talk. He will not let me talk to them he does not want me to tell him all the things that he does he scares me my grandson

  2. McD says:

    I’m right now at the age of 21 and feel this way is very complicated. I dropped out of my College when I was 19,
    I then started again studying another subject which is very easier since I enjoyed science studies during my schools. But I’m on medication currently for my depression and social anxiety, ever harmed myself but it didn’t hurt at all. But the College pointed out this case as a dangerous reasons to put me in this College, then they decided to not assess me, difficult to make friends from the start, always sat alone with one larger table, my friends were in group sat together, it seemed like I was kind of disgusting things. Friends look at me as a weird kid. What did I need to make friends? They are not my happiness. I can stand on my own. I hate college, I did everything slowly and had no passion to listen ti the lectures, but daydreamed instead. I dropped out of college for the second time. I have no clues where I need to go then. I’m really shy to face my family at home. I have tried to join in some science groups to at least learn from them, but they refused me. I sent many emails fro advices to the Autism and ASD Service, but it gave nothing.

    • Tracey says:

      Hi
      My heart goes out to you. You’re so down on yourself. Your story mimics my 19 year old sons. He dropped out of Uni after finding the whole experience overwhelming. He spent much of his time alone (finding it impossible to see anyone who he could make friends with) during breaks and in lectures where he completely shut off and, as he was doing computer science, he’d watch Anime videos on his laptop instead. He’s now under the mental health services and awaiting a community care assessment from the social services. Please talk to your GP and ask to be referred back (‘if you’re not still under them already) to mental health services and ask for a community care assessment. You are entitled to request one. And, please, please talk to your family, and any friends you have, about how you feel it’s so important to share your feelings rather than holding it inside. Hope that helps. Good luck

  3. Rae Davies says:

    Dear Readers,
    Thank you for all the information, and the sharing of your experiences. It has been eye-opening to me. I can see evidences of Aspergers in my family, particularly our eldest son, now 59 plus being ADHD and OCD. Since he has come back to town after being “on his own” for 11 years, during which time he searched for answers, I have come to know him in a different way, what it must have been like to be in his skin (breaks my heart), and understand more how he thinks. He has been sharing his heart with me, I can’t imagine how difficult it has been for him all these years, growing up, the rejection, feeling odd, blaming himself as a bad person, blaming us as parents, very angry about why he was the way he was, and no one knowing what was wrong with him, wondering why God didn’t heal him.
    He read at 5th grade level in kindergarten, was very verbal and handsome. He was very hyperactive and in everyone’s face, talking incessantly, wearing everyone out. The only time he was calm was when he was swimming or reading. Doctors thought he was just strong-willed and rebellious and needed better discipline from us as parents. He was shopping for me at the neighborhood market at 5 because he could read, and could be so charming and funny. Then, without warning, he would explode in a volcanic fit of anger, smashing his favorite toy and crying afterwards. When he was older, for a time, he lived a very healthy life, exercising, eating right, taking his vitamins, going to work, but no matter what he did, the anger would still come, and he had no control over it, and was very discouraged about it. Gradually, he started drinking and smoking and not trying anymore. Now he seems to want to be in better health, but he needs a lot of encouragement. He is seeing a psychiatrist through the county, but he gives medications and no real counseling. When he came back, he reassured me that he had changed, that he didn’t blame us or hate us anymore, we did the best we could, and just did what the doctors said (sending him to boarding school at 10!). He says he has “lived and learned” over the years. He is kind, respectful, and thanks me for anything I do for him.
    I would be so grateful for a complete diagnosis and a coach to help him discard the childish reasons for the way he is, and develop a more true picture of himself, to substitute more acceptable ways to dispel his anger times, to help him find worthwhile work, and friends. He has a deep faith and prayer life, loves animals, classical music, British humor, intelligent conversations and programs. Thank you for listening!
    Rae

  4. J says:

    I scored a 45 on your test. I scored 144 on the WISC. I had no idea of the existence of these two numbers until today. I am so grateful, as I was always suspicious that I was extroardinarily different from the norm. I cannot thank you enough for this eye-opening test. I will truly see things and not feel like a freak when they ask how I think and say “formulas and pictures.” I wish I had found this sooner.

  5. Pratishtha says:

    I am really thankful for the test you provide here. I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder way back in my adolescence, which I felt was quite not in apropos with my everyday situation. I am in my 30’s now, and being frustrated with misdiagnosis I felt to look up about my condition a little further . It’s when I stumbled across adult Asperger. I got a score of 37 on the AQ test. BPD and Asperger is often confused by clinicians, and adult asperger being a pretty current field it’s often ignored unfortunately. I don’t know how I am going to make it a point to my clinician about having asperger, but I would really ask everybody diagnosed with BPD to go through an Asperger screening as well. Thank you.

  6. Karen says:

    My son is 11 and was diagnosed with ASD at age 2, this was after a brilliant HV checked and noticed the signs so we got a very quick referral to hospital, at first we had a diagnosis of Angelmans Syndrome then the ASD diagnosis followed.
    He started in a special nursery then moved to mainstream where he’s flown in maths and IT and was told he had a very vivid imagination, the school he’s at at the moment just doesn’t seem to have the support he needs and now they’re saying he’s HFA, he hates it there and I’m becoming disollusioned with the teachers and the amount of lies they are telling, this upsets both my son and myself and I have found over the years striking similarities in his behaviour and how I was as a child and beyond, so when I came across this site I thought great, so I’ve now taken the test and scored 36.
    Now kind of confused and scared to go to my GP and ask for official diagnosis, what with my other problems I have…

  7. Rasha says:

    I have a son, 17 years old. Everything was difficult with him from the beginning but i was not aware of the reason. He had rough times. He was bullied and insisted on changing the school at age of 13. He is isolated and lonely and always experience anixity attacks. He is seeing a psychitrest now and still waiting for his final assessment. I made the Aspereges test for him and scored 24. When I read the admin article i feel as if he is talking about my son. I feel sad and i always ask my self did i contributed in any way to make him feel so, or is it only part of his nature, i wish him all the happiness in the world and pray God that he would lead a normal happy life.

  8. Iona says:

    I have slowly come to realise, after much reading and research over the past couple of years, that my son has Asperger’s. He is 16. This is the first time I have ‘said it out loud’ and there’s a lump in my throat. I completed the AQ as if I were him and scored 43. He has already been diagnosed with Dyslexia and ADHD, although I’m wondering now if that could have been a mis-diagnosis, and I can’t help feeling that there’s just no point in pursuing another diagnosis. I’m worried that if I do it will only depress him and add to his anxiety. He hates that he is different and desperately wants to be like other boys of his age, and so do I, so what would be the value in sticking another label on him? There’s no cure or medication, and this is his last year at school, so I’m inclined to think – just leave it, let him be as he is. As he gets older I will need to support him as best I can and hopefully avoid him becoming depressed. I worry about what might happen if I weren’t around. He has other family members but I haven’t spoken to them about this. I may talk to him about it when he’s older as I know that some people find it liberating to find out that’s what makes them different, but for now I’ll leave things as they are and take each day as it comes, one at a time.

    • Catherine says:

      I know two published writers who have dyslexia. Philip Schultz is a poet and wrote a short memoir called My Dyslexia. He learnt to read when he was 11 and had a dreadful time at school. But he did not realise he was dyslexic till his son was diagnosed. He writes in such a lovely way about his life and his family… The children’s author Sally Gardener is also dyslexic and she credits her imaginative word associations to her different brain. So there can be another approach to this disability – difference and not wrongness. That might not mean much to your son right now, but maybe it will when he is older. The poet Selima Hill has asperger’s and also credits much of her unique way of writing to seeing things differently. Good luck with your son.

    • Travis Niebel says:

      i was told that when i was a child that i was diagnosed with aspergers i was told when i was 20 years of age for years i felt broken and just assumed that was normal. now with learning about aspergers i think if only i was told when i was younger then i could have done better at school not wasted opportunitys, maybe i would be in collage by now like i want to be and even i would have done better at work or atleast people would be willing to work with me when i was “difficult”. i fell my last 20years are of no value to me for they toght me the rules to a diffrent game, a game that is other peoples but i have to learn how i can move my piece on the board not how a stranger moves. this is my feeling i feel lost now but that is no difference i felt lost before but now i’m learning how win the game not just tolerate it . PS ADHD from what i read can a company people with aspergers also i found it helpfully to take the test several times to be certain do as you may this is my sentiment

    • Jeri says:

      Hi, I was very interested to read of your thoughts about your son. My daughter is 17 and I have been wondering if she too has autism since my own diagnosis five years ago and I recently read a helpful book by Sarah Hendrickx about ‘Women and Girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder’ and now feel certain she must. But how do i broach it with her??? She has a difficult time, socially, (despite that she is a sweetheart) and so her self-confidence is not high. She sees herself as the NT one, helping me to understand things. She has applied to go to college from September and i think the experience may break her. I don’t know what to do for the best.

  9. Alisha says:

    My son was diagnosed with Autism in April. After much self reflection, I started to wonder if I too had a form of ASD. I started thinking back on my childhood, asked my parents questions, but specifically focused on my social awkwardness and inability to understand what others found funny. I have always had a hard time in social situations, but the older I get the harder it is. I think this is due to a more in depth ability to judge myself and the things I say/do.

    Yesterday I brought it up to my sons psychologist. (After taking multiple tests online(which I scored at 33, and 17 on empathy), research, and reflection.) He didn’t formally diagnose me because really at this point in my life, I don’t feel as if I need it. He asked me if i wanted to really pursue it for medical record purposes. I don’t exactly see the point at this time. He did however give me his oppinion, which was that Yes, I do have aspergers. This was a serious ah ha moment in my life. So much of my struggles make a lot more sense after deeply looking into traits of someone with aspergers.

    I can almost completely relate to others who shared their stories. My son is the one who opened my eyes. I found myself finding the same situations upsetting. I felt the ability to understand him. His diagnosis has helped me understand myself better, and has given me hope for his future as well.

    Just wanted to share with someone, since I have only shared with my husband this far.

  10. Carol Powell says:

    Dear Founder, I came across your site after going onto embarrassing bodies web pages and took the mind test and discovered I have aspergers syndrome. I then found your web site and took your test scoring 33.
    I always felt different, from everyone around me being very literal, never getting the joke and cannot bare social chit chat among many other symptoms. I took the plunge and spoke to my GP asking for a formal diagnosis, Luckily her own son has been diagnosed by Baron Cohen and and she said that she would refer me and send a letter of refferal. She told me it will take sometime and I am awaiting my 1st appointment.
    The reason I want to find out once and for-all is I created my own businesses from a kitchen room table in domiciliary care, delivering Health & Social Care services, looking after the most vulnerable people in our society, end of life, dementia, learning disabilities, mental health and continuing healthcare services. I created an accredited training & assessment center delivering qualifications, diplomas, BETEC’s, apprenticeships and wide range of accredited short courses in H
    health & social care, customer services, hospitality, retail, businesses administration and management. I am very passionate, and once I set my mind to something, I was good a building the businesses with T/O of 5 million for Homecare and T/O of 950k for training. But once the businesses reached these levels of success my problems started. I had direct Government funding and delivered high quality services but being literal and believing what people said. I trusted everyone I met and to be liked was too kind to everyone around me, gullible and extremely vulnerable. I could not read people and was taken advantage of. I was on my own running these businesses with no support, if I had someone at my side to help me I may not of made the mistakes in trusting everyone I met. both businesses went into liquidation very recently which was a big shock and made me question my behavior throughout the experience. A billionaire family were going to by my businesses the son was impressed with what I had achieved. t
    They wanted my brand but I could not produce management accounts due to internal sabotage by the accountant who put in a millionaire book keeper into my businesses who was attempting to take them for himself once they went into receivership. I also had the training manager mirroring my training business copying all information and sending it over to her own training business she set up in 2011. I did not know any of this until the liquidation commenced. Once I have had formal diagnosis I will write a book of these experiences in an adventure format. I hope through this it will help others the same as myself as I could not see what was coming.
    Kind Regards
    Carol Powell

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