What is Asperger’s Syndrome?

Asperger’s Syndrome, often shortened to AS, is an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Despite the public perception of autism, we’re not like Rain Man, but people of average to high intelligence with a few difficulties in social understanding and a different way of processing information. (Incidentally, Kim Peek, the person they based the Rain Man character on, didn’t even have autism).

Most of our difficulties can be covered under the Triad of Impairments. More specifically, we struggle with:

  • social communication – what words to use and when, and how to hold a conversation, often interpreting language literally or raising inappropriate topics;
  • social interaction – not understanding the unwritten rules of social life we can have trouble forming and maintaining friendships and relationships;
  • and social understanding – knowing what somebody else thinks and feels and adapting our behaviour accordingly.

AS is often called the ‘hidden disability’ because outwardly we can mask our symptoms, using our intellects to compensate for what we failed to learn intuitively. It’s exhausting, but don’t feel sorry for us: instead of thinking of us as disabled, try thinking of us as different. And it’s a myth that we don’t appreciate humour.

One thought on “What is Asperger’s Syndrome?

  1. LOVE THIS! One of the oddest depictions of Asperger behavior in the journals and books written by professionals is that sense of humor is lacking. Sense of humor is the #1 reason I fell for my Aspie husband (as an NT) and it is our shared sense of humor that brings us back down to earth when we float off in our own minds. In fact, my husband is one of the funniest people I have ever met! It is bizarre how frequently this misinformation is listed as a “trait.” If anyone reads books written by NT women about their husbands with Aspergers, the vast majority of them regale many stories of the laughter and humor their husband brings to their daily lives. At this point, I find myself automatically dumping interest in anything written by an “expert” who points out that sense of humor is impaired… I instinctively think, “Well obviously this person does not have a close relationship with an Aspie so their advice, information, and opinion are no longer appreciated.” Perhaps that is unfair of me, but that very statement had me doubting my husband’s diagnosis for a long time. I would think, “He can’t have Aspergers, he is frickin hilarious!” From now on, if I hear or read a statement like that, I am just going to link them to your blog so they can reevaluate that ridiculous misconception!

    Like

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