Recognising the Characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome

Part of the Asperger’s Syndrome For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)

Unusual behaviour is characteristic of people with Asperger’s Syndrome or other conditions on the autism spectrum. The autism spectrum applies to people who have difficulty with social communication, social interaction and social imagination.

Unwritten social rules and social expectations are widespread in our society. If a pause occurs in conversation, people fill it with chit chat about the weather, even if they aren’t particularly interested in the weather. People ask other people if they’re feeling okay out of politeness, rather than because they really want to know the true answer. These sorts of social niceties are often a mystery to people with Asperger’s Syndrome. In fact, many people with Asperger’s Syndrome have to learn such things by rote, if they’re able to learn them at all.

If you have Asperger’s Syndrome, you may have difficulties with the following things:

  • Understanding social interactions, social rules and social expectations

  • Recognising other people’s feelings and emotions (by their facial expressions, tone of voice, or body language and gestures)

  • Making friends and keeping friends, even though you may want to have friends

  • Making conversation (knowing when to start or end a conversation and what to talk about)

  • Understanding jokes, sarcasm, idioms and metaphors (you may take language very literally)

  • Figuring out what other people are thinking (you may find other people confusing and unpredictable)

  • Imagining alternative outcomes to a given situation

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Asperger’s Syndrome For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)

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