Characteristics of Asperger syndrome

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Provides information about Asperger syndrome, which is a type of autism.

Key points

  • Children with Asperger syndrome are on the autism spectrum.
  • Children with Asperger syndrome can be very intelligent, but often have problems learning to interact with others or understanding people's viewpoints and emotions.
  • Children with Asperger's often repeat themselves.

Asperger syndrome is part of the autism spectrum. Children with Asperger syndrome have average intelligence and almost typical language development. However, they have social and communication problems and limited interests.

Social communication differences

Children with Asperger syndrome often struggle with living, playing, and working with others. Although children with Asperger syndrome may be very intelligent, they often have problems learning to interact with others. This can interfere with making friends.

Children with Asperger syndrome may have trouble understanding other people’s viewpoints and emotions. This is especially true with people they do not know well. This can be particularly difficult for school-aged children who are meeting and being forced to interact with children in the classroom and school yard every day.

Repetitive behaviour or "insistence on sameness"

Children with Asperger syndrome often demonstrate repetition in either words or actions. Many children with Asperger syndrome become experts on limited topics, for example, maps of transportation systems or 50s rock and roll music. They may learn detailed information about a topic and repeat it over and over again.

They may have problems taking turns. When they are talking to others, they may not realize that other people also need to be able to talk about their interests.

The term "sticky" is sometimes used for this type of behaviour. For example, Betty gets stuck on talking about her interest in bugs.

They may also become stuck on emotions. For example, Andrew gets stuck on being angry that peers break classroom rules.

Last updated: March 9th 2009