The 3 main areas of difficulty for a person with Asperger’s Syndrome are:
Asperger syndrome does not show the severe delay in speech or cognitive development during the first three years that Autism does. However, there are still big differences in language and communication skills for those with Asperger Syndrome such as:
People with Asperger's Syndrome do not understand metaphors or sarcasm in conversations and are confused when they find out people say something but actually mean the opposite! They also have an inability to read between the lines or understand the concept of figure of speech or double meaning in language. They find it difficult to understand jokes and are often the one that "doesn't get it" and are deemed as slow for not "getting it" as quickly as others.
They are also not able to pick up on non-verbal signs from others.So someone might want to change the subject or end the conversation and the person with Asperger's Syndrome will not understand this. In this way any conversation that started out as a dialogue will be turned into a monologue. Also they may interrupt others while they are still talking. Not because they want to be rude but because they can not make sense of the rhythm of conversation. They don't understand about taking turns.
In order to structure their inner thoughts and process information some people with Asperger Syndrome will verbalize their thoughts out loud. Their speech can be flat and without tone or pitch. It can also be overly formal. Even young children can sound like little professors!
Children and adults with Asperger's Syndrome have difficulty with social interaction. This is not caused by their desire to avoid social contact but the problem comes from the inability to understand and use the rules of social interaction and act according to those rules. Most rules that have to do with social interaction are unwritten, too complex for them to grasp and changing all the time. They simply do not know what to do and when to do it.
Impairment in social interaction may include:
Although most people with Aspergers want to have friends and interact with others, their attempts are unsuccessful which makes them outsiders in their peer groups. Their social behavior is naive and peculiar and they fail in knowing intuitively how to fit in. They can be known for “being in their own world” and preoccupied with their own agenda. However they express a desire to fit in socially and have friends. They are often deeply frustrated and disappointed by their lack of social interaction.
Due to their impairment in social interaction they tend to be loners who have no close friends. In school during playtime or on their lunch break, they are alone . When they are able to make a connection with others, those other children are usually much older or much younger.
Young children with Asperger Syndrome are often bullied in school which can lead to social withdrawal. Older children and adults may become isolated. Their repeated, unsuccessful attempts at interacting socially and their painful awareness of their differences from their peers, often leads to anxiety and/or depression.
Children with Asperger syndrome often grow up to be considered "odd" or "eccentric".
Individuals with Asperger Syndrome have typical characteristics that directly affect their ability to relate meaningfully to others. One of those characteristics is an impairment in social imagination combined with inflexible thinking and repetitive behavior. The lack of imagination can be mild or more severe and effects the ability those with Aspergers Syndrome have to appreciate other people’s point of view and therefore their behavior will lack social and emotional reciprocity.
An impairment in imagination is something that will be obvious from early childhood. Young children with Asperger's Syndrome will have trouble with imaginative play and lack the ability to pretend. This means they will get stuck in their thinking which is focused on reality all the time. Most of them are interested in stuff that goes on in real life such as trains, planes, animals or computers.
Those with Asperger's Syndrome are bound to make many social errors. The limitations in their understanding of other people’s feelings come from their lack of being able to imagine what something must be like for someone else. They can only see things their way. This can not be helped and it’s not unwillingness but it is an inability to place yourself in other people’s shoes and see the situation from another perspective.
Their behaviour can be rigid and repetitive and they are highly focused on topics or their interest and are known to be preoccupied with their own agenda. When you are unable to place yourself in another person's situation and see things from another point of view you are likely to have big trouble interacting socially.
People with Asperger's syndrome will say things as they see them and will not understand the need to adapt what they say because of the effect it may have on others. They will quite happily state a fact about someone without realising that in saying so they may hurt that persons feelings and they are usually upset and shocked to find out their remarks are hurtful or inappropriate. Feelings of other people can not be understood.