Asperger syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by significant difficulties in social communication, social interaction and social imagination. Asperger’s affects how a person makes sense of the world, processes information and relates to other people.
For most of us, as soon as we meet a person we develop some understandings about them. From their facial expression, tone of voice and body language we can usually tell whether they are happy, angry or sad and respond accordingly. But people with Asperger syndrome find it harder to read the signals most of us take for granted. This means they find it more difficult to communicate and interact with others, which can lead to high levels of anxiety and confusion. Often children and adults with Asperger syndrome want to be sociable but have difficulty initiating and sustaining social relationships - they may not understand the unwritten 'social rules' most of us pick up, such as standing too close to another person, or starting an inappropriate topic of conversation.
Although people with Asperger’s can be imaginative in the conventional use of the word (many are accomplished writers, artists and musicians) they can have difficulty with social imagination - guessing what other people are thinking and interpreting other people's thoughts, feelings or actions. They may also have a limited range of imaginative activities, which can be pursued rigidly and repetitively, eg lining up toys or collecting and organizing things.
Therapy for children and adults with Asperger’s can help them with developing social thinking skills and strategies to manage their needs and behavior and enhance their well-being.
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