Signs of Asperger’s in Speech and Communication
Asperger’s signs in speech and communication are easy to recognize. There are a number of differences in the way language is used and also in the way it is interpreted. Here are some signs to look out for:
- A person with Asperger’s syndrome may speak in a strange flat tone with no inflection or expression. This makes their speech monotonous and difficult to respond to as it lacks emotion. Others speak with more rhythm but in a strange tone.
- Language is often formal and pedantic and conversation does not flow easily.
- Conversation is interpreted literally and expressions such as, “You climbed out of the wrong side of the bed this morning," are taken at face value. This can cause a person with Asperger’s to lose the drift of a conversation as they puzzle over idioms, metaphors and similes.
- In some cases, a person may latch on to a phrase from a movie and use it repeatedly in conversation.
Signs of Asperger’s in Social Interaction
People with Asperger’s syndrome generally have a number of weaknesses in their social skills. Although they may desire friendship, they tend to approach people in the wrong way. This can cause them to be labelled as socially inappropriate or just weird. Hans Asperger is quoted as saying, “Their behavior in the social group is the clearest sign of their disorder." Asperger’s signs in the social arena include the following:
- The person does not understand or conform to the unwritten rules of socializing such as taking turns to speak, reciprocating interest and working or playing together.
- Children with Asperger’s are often a couple of years behind their peers when it comes to social maturity. This immaturity can compound their social problems.
- Friendships may be with another person who has similar interests and is also socially clumsy. Their interaction may be based on exchanging facts and items and discussing their interest.
- Many children with Asperger’s prefer to socialize with adults who are generally more understanding of their quirks.
Signs of Asperger’s in Obsessive Behaviors
Asperger’s signs commonly include obsessive or repetitive behaviors. While these may seem strange to onlookers, they often bring stability and purpose into the life of someone with Asperger’s syndrome. The behaviors include the following:
- Many people with Asperger’s syndrome have a remarkable ability in an area that interests them. They may spend hours on this interest – reading about it, collecting items associated with it and recording information.
- A special interest commonly centers on mechanical objects such as lawnmowers, trains and air conditioners. Astronomy and other scientific fields are also popular interests, as are computers.
- The focus and intensity of the interest is beyond the norm and often develops into an obsession.
- Routine and structure are important and people with Asperger’s syndrome function better when life is predictable and ordered.
- Repetitive behaviors in Asperger’s include hand flapping, finger twisting and whole-body movements.
Asperger’s signs are varied and complex and each person will have different areas of strengths and weaknesses. Knowing the facts about Asperger’s can make it easier for friends and families to understand a person with this condition.
The complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome, Tony Attwood, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2007