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Symptoms of Asperger Syndrome and Parenting Strategies (page 2)

By — MAAP Services for Autism and Asperger Syndrome
Updated on Dec 8, 2010

Key Features

The main areas affected by Asperger Syndrome are:

  • Social interaction
  • Communication
  • Narrow Interests / Preoccupation's
  • Repetitive routines / rituals, inflexibility
Social Interaction

Children with Asperger Syndrome have poor social skills. They can not read the social cues and, therefore, they don't give the right social and emotional responses. They can lack the desire to share information and experiences with others. These problems are less noticeable with parents and adults, but it leads to an inability to make age appropriate friends. This in turn can lead to frustration and subsequent behavior problems. They find the world a confusing place. They are often alone, some are happy like this, others are not. They are more noticeably different among peer groups in unstructured settings i.e. playgrounds. Their naivete can cause them to be bullied and teased unless care is taken by assistants or buddies to integrate and help protect them. They can often focus on small details and fail to see the overall picture of what is happening in any situation.

Communication

Both verbal and nonverbal communications pose problems. Spoken language is often not entirely understood, so it should be kept simple, to a level they can understand. Take care to be precise. Metaphor s (non-literal expressions - 'food for thought') and similes (figures of speech - 'as fit as a fiddle') have to be explained as children with Asperger Syndrome tend to make literal and concrete interpretations. Language acquisition - learning to speak - in some cases can be delayed. They make much use of phrases they have memorized, although they may not be used in the right context. A certain amount of translation may be needed in order to understand what they are trying to say.

Spoken language can sometimes be odd, perhaps they don't have the local accent or they are too loud for a situation or overly formal or speak in a monotonous tone. If the child with Asperger Syndrome has a good level of spoken language you must not assume their understanding is at the same level . Some talk incessantly (hyperverbal) often on a topic of interest only to themselves without knowing the boredom of the listener.

Difficulties in using the right words or forming conversations is part of semantic-pragmatic difficulties. They appear often to talk 'at' rather than 'to' you, giving information rather that holding proper conversations. Body language and facial expressions of a child with Asperger Syndrome can appear odd (stiff eye gaze rather than eye contact) and find 'reading' these things in others gives rise to further difficulties. Early age is known as Hyperlexia. Some children have remarkable reading abilities although you should check if they also understand the text. The ability to read fluently without understanding the meaning is known as Hyperlexia.

Narrow Interests / Pre-occupations

One of the hallmarks of Asperger Syndrome is the child's preoccupation (or obsession) with certain topics, often on themes of transport - trains in particular-or computers, dinosaurs, maps etc. These pre-occupations, usually in intellectual areas change over time but not in intensity, and maybe pursued to the exclusion of other activities.

Repetitive Routines / Inflexibility

Children often impose rigid routine on themselves and those around them, from how they want things done, to what they will eat etc. It can be very frustrating for all concerned. Routines will change from time to time, as they mature they are perhaps a little easier to reason with. This inflexibility shows itself in other ways too, giving rise to difficulties with imaginative and creative thinking. The child tends to like the same old thing done in the same old way over and over again!. They often can't see the point of a story or the connection between starting a task and what will be the result. They usually excel at rote memory - learning information without understanding, but it can still be an asset. Attempts should always be made to explain everything in a way they can understand. Don't assume because they parrot information back that they know what they are talking about.

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