2 What is Asperger Syndrome Asperger Syndrome is part of the autistic spectrumThe syndrome is named after Hans Asperger ( ), a viennese psychiatrist who wrote a paper in 1944 (although not translated into English until 1970’s) based upon a group of boys who showed similar characteristicsFailure to communicate effectivelyPoor social interactionApparent lack of empathyPoor social imagination (working out other people’s thoughts)Intense absorption in a special interestProblems with “change”
17 And if forced to mix with others… …they may become nervous and not know what to do!
18 A young person with Asperger Syndrome often chooses friends that they find unthreatening or safe …often this may outwardly appear strange e.g. preferring the company of adults or children with different ages to themselves
19 Friendship is a major area of difficulty for young people with Aspergers …as they may always feel different from those around them
20 And because they are a little bit different …they can easily become the victims of teasing or bullying
21 Sometimes their parents can feel they need to keep there child safe and can become very protective …but this can mean that they don’t hang around with friends out of school and can become even more isolated
22 A young person with Aspergers syndrome may feel sad about not forming friendships… …and may end up being lonely
23 Their vocabulary might at first seem very advanced, What a catastrophe!
24 … but they can then get simple words mixed up… That doesn’t look like a mouse!
25 Or misunderstand what people say to them “Don’t let the cat out of the bag”
26 Body language is a foreign language to people with Asperger Syndrome… Why are they going red in the face and talking in a loud voice at me?…they often get confused by facial expressions and non-verbal language
27 When people talk to them they may avoid looking at them or even not answer them at all …not because they are being rude, but because they don’t understand the rules of having a conversation.!
28 Sometimes they always seem to talk about the same thing again and again and again!… … so people stop talking to them because they get bored!
29 “Did you know that a mouse and a cat share 97.5% of the same DNA?” Often a young person with Asperger syndrome has a good memory for interesting facts!“Did you know that a mouse and a cat share 97.5% of the same DNA?”… but sometimes they can find it difficult to use these facts meaningfully!
30 Sometimes a person with Asperger Syndrome may think about things in a different way to you… Did you know these famous people have / had autism!Albert EinsteinAndy WarholLewis CarollIsaac NewtonHans Christian AndersonTemple Grandin…this can lead to some amazing inventions, discoveries or talent in their specialist area!
31 Sometimes a person with Asperger Syndrome can find it very difficult to concentrate as they are easily distracted…
32 …but sometimes if it is something they are particularly interested in they can become hyper focussed and can’t stop thinking about it…… even if it gets them in trouble for not doing something else they have been asked to do
33 A young person with Asperger Syndrome finds daily rituals and routines very comforting… Roll over three times before I get up or the day will be ruined!
34 … and they can become very worried or upset if things unexpectedly change OH NO!, the supply teacher is writing on the board with the wrong coloured pen!
35 A person with Asperger Syndrome will sometimes speak without thinking about the consequences of what they are saying!
36 They can sometimes get into trouble by being too honest “Your breath smells funny!”
37 .. and they are often not very good at telling a lie “Bird, What bird?”
38 This will sometimes make other people cringe with embarrassment… … laugh at them or become angry or upset with them!
39 Did anyone talk while I was out the classroom? A young person with Asperger Syndrome does not always understand unwritten social rules…Did anyone talk while I was out the classroom?…and this can make them unpopular with their peers and can make everyday life at school very difficult
40 As a young person with Asperger’s grows older… …they often begin realise they are different from everyone else and this can be extremely difficult…
41 It can feel like they live on a different planet to everyone else…
42 …like they are looking into a world that they will never be part of
43 …It can be very lonely, confusing and frightening …and they can feel like they’re the only one who doesn’t fit in
44 Don’t forget that every person is different and that everyone is unique … And we all have different things we are good at and different things we need help with…
45 …and there is probably a little bit of Asperger in all of us
46 So next time you talk with a young person with Asperger Syndrome … … try putting yourself in their shoes! (not literally of course)
47 ..Just by being more understanding … …you can make a big difference