A brief introduction
Asperger’s Syndrome is on the autism spectrum. New diagnostic criteria has merged Asperger’s Syndrome and High Functioning Autism into a new diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Some people still like to refer to themselves as “Aspies”. Others prefer “Autistic”.
How does it affect people?
The condition is life-long & affects people differently from person to person.
The key shared features are difficulties with:
- Social interaction (making friends, understanding unwritten social rules, understanding other people’s thoughts and feelings).
- Social communication (understanding what is said, gesture, making conversation, taking things literally)
- Social imagination (flexible thinking, coping with change, anticipating consequences)
- Sensory sensitivities (under/over sensitive to lights, sounds, or textures which may cause discomfort or distress)
Many people need routines, dislike change & may have intense interests.
AS is a hidden difficulty; many people struggle to make friends, to find flexibility at work & to understand the world around them.
Others may appear unaffected & lead outwardly conventional & fulfilling lives but experience underlying difficulties.
More recent ideas offer different perspectives on autism and Asperger’s.
The double empathy problem
Whilst it is true that autistic people and people with Asperger’s can struggle to process and understand the intentions of others within social interactions, the double empathy problem theory suggests that the same is true of non-autistic people when it comes to understanding autistic people.
The intense world theory
The intense world theory suggests that rather than being oblivious, autistic people take in too much and learn too fast. While they may appear bereft of emotion, they are actually overwhelmed not only by their own emotions, but by the emotions of others.