What is Asperger Syndrome?
What do famous people like Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, Sir Isaac Newton, Thomas Jefferson, Wolfgang Mozart and even fictional character like Mr. Spock (fictional character in Star Trek) have in common? They are all allegedly suspected to have Aspergers Syndrome.
Let me break out the 3 difficulties for you.
- it’s hard for them to imagine alternative outcomes to a situation and they find it hard to predict what will happen next.
- they find it hard to understand or interpret other peoples thoughts, feelings or actions.
If you have a young kid with Asperger, practice pretend play with him/her to develop his/her imagination skills.
- They have difficulty understanding jokes, figures of speech and sarcasm. They may be confused when you say “a piece of cake” when you mean that a task is simple. They take what ever you are saying literally.
- It is also difficult for them to understand gestures and facial expressions or the tone of someone’s voice.
To help them understand you, use exact and simple words and keep your sentences short.
- become withdrawn and seem uninterested in other people, appear to be a loner
- find other people unpredictable
- behaves in inappropriate manner
- finds it hard to make friends and maintain friendships
Short stories can be useful in teaching social skills. Use one page visual aids that teach about listening to others and keeping quiet and still while they talk.
I like how the experts of this syndrome sees it:
People with Asperger Syndrome often have advanced vocabularies, recognize patterns others do not, and pursue ideas despite evidence to the contrary because they are not easily swayed by others’ opinions. Their ability to focus on details and their inability to see the big picture means they can often come up with solutions to problems others overlook. Aspies are often willing to spend long hours in laboratories and in front of computer screens because they do not mind being alone. All this enables them to make tremendous contributions at work and school. – Dierdre Lovecky
One such person is Dr. Temple Grandin, an adult with autism who became a successful engineer, academic and speaker. she believes that her disorder is an asset. She once famously called NASA a sheltered workshop for people with autism and Asperger Syndrome. She believes that people with autistic spectrum disorders are the great innovators, and “if the world was left to you socialites, nothing would get done and we would still be in caves talking to each other.”
I agree with Dr. Temple Grandin that their deficits can be their assets. They do not manipulate people but speak out frankly and honestly. They are incapable of backstabbing because they are sincere truth-tellers.
If you have a child that have an Asperger Syndrome, here are some tips you may want to consider:
1. Keep it SIMPLE. Kids with Asperger are smart, but they have difficulties understanding complicated words. It is advisable to make your dialogue short, precise and free of jokes and riddles.
2. Find the CHILD’S INTEREST. In order to engage them in a conversation, talk about something that he/she likes the most like his favorite toys or subjects at school.
3. RESEARCH. Don’t get tired of educating yourself about this syndrome. Think ahead of the time on what to expect and what to do in some unexpected situations.
4. Be PATIENT. Give your child some time to process the information that you have given him/her so that he/she can respond appropriately.