What is Asperger Syndrome?

Little BoyAsperger Syndrome (AS) was first identified in 1944 by a Viennese physician, Dr. Hans Asperger, though it wasn’t fully recognized until 1994 as a formal medical diagnosis.  As a result, we are still learning more every day about what Asperger Syndrome is.

Presently, the diagnosis of AS is included as an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) since people with AS share some of the characteristics of people with autism.  By definition, people with AS have a normal or above normal I.Q. and many have exceptional skills and talents in specific areas of interest (see also:  special interests).   For many people with AS, language development is strong in the area of factual content, while jokes, innuendos, and more subtle social cues by others can be difficult to interpret. 

Challenges can also appear in social interaction, understanding nonverbal cues such as body language, and personal boundaries.  Children with AS are sometimes perceived by neuro-typical peers to be socially naïve and the child with AS can sometimes experience bullying as a result.  Some people with AS experience sensory sensitivities, and may demonstrate strong preferences for certain textures, tastes, sounds and smells.  (see also: sensory integration)

As children with AS grow older, the success they found in the areas of their special interests can lead to fulfilling academic and professional careers.   Many adults with AS have made significant contribution in the areas of art, engineering, math, computers and architecture, to name only a few.

Fostering the development of each person’s individual strengths paired with support in their areas of difficulty is one of the ways that GCA helps people with AS lead successful and fulfilling lives.