Advertisement
Asperger's syndrome is a developmental disorder. It is one of the autism spectrum disorders (ASD) that impairs the ability of an individual to process information related to social context. An individual having Asperger's syndrome shows a stereotypical behavioral pattern while associating with other people. However, it is difficult to detect this syndrome in adults at first glance, since the signs exhibited by this condition are not quite evident. They usually don't have learning disabilities or speech abnormalities associated with autism, and in most cases have normal intellectual development. However, this syndrome can be identified by their marked impairment during social interaction.

Symptoms

The symptoms of Asperger's syndrome can be present during childhood, but in many cases, they tend to surface only in adulthood. The symptoms may be mild or severe, depending on the affected individual's age. Mentioned below are some signs of this disorder.

Difficulty with Social Communication
People with Asperger's syndrome generally find it difficult to understand others and express themselves. They may have difficulty in interpreting gestures, facial expressions and change of tone. They are usually at a loss while choosing a topic to speak on, and do not know when to start or end a conversation. They are very literal in what they say and fail to comprehend complex words and phrases, expressions like metaphors and even jokes. They have trouble understanding sarcasm and satire and fail to interpret subtle body language. The best way to interact with individuals with Asperger's syndrome is to keep one's sentences short and concise.

Difficulty with Social Interaction
It is their inability to interact with people that hampers their ability to maintain friendships. Individuals with Asperger's can take time while making friends. They might be confused at the way other people behave, because they are unable to understand social norms and conduct. They may lose interest in people and appear aloof most of the time. They are often mistaken as ignorant, reticent and vain individuals.

Lack of Social Imagination
Although adults with Asperger's syndrome can be accomplished musicians and writers, they are unable to imagine alternatives to social incidents. They cannot predict a normal course of action according to social norms. Since they have a difficulty in interacting with other people, they can feel awkward in social situations like parties, weddings, funerals, etc. They do not know what to say or how to behave in such social situations.

Love for Routines
Adults with Asperger's syndrome seem to follow routines and rituals religiously. They do not take very well to a sudden change in their daily schedule, and have set hours for everyday work. The reason behind such mechanical behavior is not very clear. However, it could be an attempt of further simplifying even the simple things that baffles the mind of an individual who suffers from Asperger's syndrome. In some cases, individuals tend to develop eccentric behavior like repetitive movement of fingers, hand wringing, etc.

Special Interests
Individuals with this syndrome are sometimes found to have an intense or even obsessive interest or hobby. Sometimes these continue for one's entire lifetime. However, in some cases, an individual may get smitten with a completely unrelated activity. However, this obsessive involvement with particular topics help them in gaining an amazing insight into those fields. These topics could vary from computers, photography to knowing how to play the guitar. Encouraging such individuals to continue with their interest helps them to acquire an in-depth knowledge in certain fields. This could help them to gain employment in their field of interest.

Treatment

Unfortunately, a cure for this syndrome has not yet been discovered. However, there are a number of therapies for adults with Asperger's syndrome. With the help of a therapist, this condition can be brought under control to a great extent. Mentioned below are some methods of treating this disorder.
  • A trained therapist first of all helps the patient to come to terms with his disability. It is important to make such individuals realize that they are just as functional as others, and that they could minimize the drawbacks of their disabilities with certain therapies.
  • The treatment that follows differs according to an individual's response. While some may be overjoyed as they start to understand that it was not their fault if they did not understand how the world around them worked, there are those that simply abandon further treatment.
  • It is important to make individuals with Asperger's syndrome feel confident about themselves, so that they respond positively to further course of treatment. This can be done through counseling.
  • After that, cognitive behavioral therapy sessions could be used successfully. Social training could also be adopted as it teaches individuals how to behave in different social situations.
Employment Opportunities

Aptitude in social behavior is required in every aspect of life. Hence, despite their intelligence being average or above average levels, the chances of employment for adults with Asperger's syndrome get limited due to their social disabilities. However, there are agencies and services that help such individuals in getting jobs. It is important to remember that Asperger's syndrome does not retard one's intellectual development. If only society is a little patient and tolerant with their inability to understand social norms, they can fend for themselves as engineers, mathematicians, video game designers or photographers. They should avoid jobs of a receptionist, cashier or waiter as these involve a lot of social interactions.

Asperger's Syndrome and Adults in Relationship

Although research into the sexual interests of adults who have Asperger's syndrome is still in the stage of infancy, the studies have revealed that they have a normal sexual urge as other adults, but their sexual codes may not be as mature as expected of their age. Hence, inappropriate sexual behavior might be expected. However, due to their inability to understand people's emotions, they may face some challenges in issues related to married life and parenting. If only the partner understands the symptoms and does not expect the spouse with Asperger's syndrome to shoulder equal responsibilities of the family, married life could be congenial and happy.

Life is like a complex puzzle for adults with Asperger's syndrome at every step. Matters become worse for them as most of us can't recognize its symptoms too. If you know that a person is suffering from this syndrome, be patient with him. With time you will be able to see why his behavior that seems inappropriate to you, is the only right way for him to react.