Asperger's Syndrome: Behavior and Symptoms
Perhaps the most obvious Asperger’s syndrome behavior is the obsessive interests they have in one or several specific topics. For example, a child may have memorized the local train schedules and will rattle them off incessantly, may be constantly interested in learning about the infrastructure of the sewer system, or may know the scientific names of all of the dinosaurs from several eras. Although some people without Asperger’s seem to obsess with one particular area of interest, people with Asperger’s have much more eclectic interests, delve into them excessively, and seem to talk about them constantly. This behavior leads to social issues, but many people with Asperger’s have even more complex social problems than just the tendency to talk about obsessions.
People with Asperger’s syndrome do talk a lot about their favorite subjects, and they often seem to talk a lot in general as well. This, as well as other social issues, can define their behavior when in social situations. For example, they may carry on monologues rather than dialogs, verbalize their thoughts unintentionally, and speak at a very fast pace or in a voice with a strange tone. In addition, they may avoid eye contact with others or stare at them incessantly, which can make others feel uncomfortable. They may also have unusual postures or facial expressions during conversations. They may seem to lack social skills that most people take for granted, such as taking turns speaking during a conversation or starting a conversation.
Perhaps even more detrimental to social development than the speaking issues of people with Asperger’s syndrome are their issues with understanding what is said to them. Many people with Asperger’s have difficulty understanding social cues and reading other people’s body language or nonverbal cues. They may seem to lack empathy for others and be unable to see a different point of view than their own. In addition, they may find it difficult to recognize subtle humor, taking everything that is said at face value. These social issues can often be resolved using the methods discussed in this article on social behaviors and Asperger’s disorder.
People with Asperger’s may have behavioral issues that manifest themselves physically as well. They may have delayed motor development, so they may learn how to use utensils, ride a bike, or catch a ball very late in childhood. They may also move in a clumsy or uncoordinated manner, and have a strange posture or gait. Their handwriting can be difficult to read as well.
People with Asperger’s may exhibit several other behaviors as well. The following are some examples:
- They may also have sensory integration dysfunction, which manifests itself in a strong sensitivity to bright lights, loud noises, or strong tastes and textures.
- They may speak using formal diction that may seem stilted or advanced for his or her age, such as “I will beckon you to return” instead of “I will ask you to come back.”
- They may balk at any changes in routines, however slight or unimportant.
This post is part of the series: Children with Asperger’s Syndrome
Children with Asperger’s syndrome have their own unique needs and characteristics. If you are working with these children, this series will give you a deeper understanding into how they work.