Asperger Syndrome is a developmental disorder related to Autism. It is not as severe as Autism but has some similar characteristics. Children with Aspergers can experience significant difficulties with social interaction and communicating with others.
Aspergers can be apparent when a child has difficulty in social situations. This can become most evident when a child reaches school. They may have stereotyped patterns of behaviour and obsessional interests. They have difficulty empathising with and understanding others.
Many children with the syndrome have normal intelligence or can even have above average intelligence but they lack social and communication skills as well as the ability to empathise and relate to others. Some say that the root of these problems lies with an inability to read emotions in others and to understand their own feelings. However, with the proper support and early intervention, children with AS can grow up to lead full and productive lives.
In Ireland it is estimated that several thousand people have the syndrome, with about nine times as many men affected as women.
Children diagnosed with AS present a challenge when they reach school. Typically viewed as eccentric and peculiar by classmates, their inept social skills often cause them to be made victims by their classmates. Clumsiness and an obsessive interest in obscure subjects or patterns and colours can make them appear different to other children.
Children with AS often have good language skills including extensive vocabularies which mask their difficulties in communication - particularly in the social use of language and the ability to convey and understand meaning.
There is support available for families with a child who suffers from AS. If you suspect that your child may suffer from the condition, visit your GP and discuss your concerns.