Asperger Syndrome is a condition that resides on the Autism Spectrum Disorders. As you may know, Autism Spectrum Disorders include developmental delays in a number of areas, including social communication, abstract thinking, difficulties managing strong emotions (anxiety, anger, sadness), and unique, specific interests. What is the "spectrum" portion of the diagnosis? Well, an individual diagnosed with Autism will experience very significant delays/impairments in these areas, including some more significant difficulties with language, while an individual with Asperger Syndrome will display these delays somewhat, but not as severely.
So, what are the signs of Asperger Syndrome in an adult? They are not that different from the symptoms observed in a child, but it might look something like this: An adult with Asperger Syndrome will probably have a hard time picking up the nonverbal, and implicit communication cues in a conversation. They will likely miss some of the sarcasm of a comment or joke and fail to see when someone is ready to end a conversation, but they have not said so directly. They will have difficulty empathizing with other people's situation. It is just hard to put themselves in someone else's shoes, so they may seem ignorant or insensitive at times. In addition, they will most likely be interested in sexual and romantic relationships, but they will struggle with the "codes" of dating. They may also have an very strong interest in a topic or hobby that seems a bit unusual or strange to their peers of the same age. Finally, they may struggle to cope with anger or anxiety, blowing up at coworkers or friends with seemingly little provocation.
Adults with Asperger Syndrome are well able to develop and maintain relationships and achieve successful careers. Sometimes a diagnosis is helpful because it facilitates treatment for social struggles, but they may also benefit from support from an expert without an explicit diagnosis.
Hope that helps.
L. Compian, Ph.D.