Asperger’s Syndrome is more common today than 20 years ago but remains a misunderstood disorder. Asperger’s is on the spectrum of autism disorders and is sometimes classified as a form of high-functioning autism (HFA). However, it is very much its own classification. It can be mild or severe, and determining if your child has it might be difficult. There are, however, a few classic signs.
One of the first things most people think of when they hear “Asperger’s syndrome” is a child with poor social skills. Many people believe these children have no empathy and cannot make friends. While this is far from true, kids with Asperger’s do have social difficulties. Many of them prefer the company of older or younger children or adults rather than kids their own age. Sometimes they “monologue” (talk out loud to themselves) without knowing they are doing it or seemingly ignore people around them. This is not rudeness; it is an attempt to deal with the stimulation of socializing.
Another common Asperger’s sign is narrow, specific interests. These interests vary from child to child and can have different intensity levels. Watch your child for signs the interest is all-encompassing, such as rigid focus or a tendency to circle conversations back to that interest.
Asperger’s is not a physical disability, but there are physical characteristics associated with it. Children with Asperger’s may have awkward posture or a rigid gait. They may have trouble with eye contact and may experience sensory difficulties from things like itchy clothing or specific food textures.