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.