Asperger's syndrome is a developmental disorder that affects how a person perceives and processes information. It is a neurological problem that was recognised and labelled in 1994. Asperger's is a form of autism, although it does not impair intellectual functioning as happens with many autistic individuals. It mainly affects people's behaviour and how they relate to others.
Adults with Asperger's syndrome are typically very intelligent. But they often have a difficult time communicating with and relating to others. The adult with Asperger's may take you very literally or have difficulty perceiving facial expressions and body language. Because of this, she may be unable to understand and comply with social rules and norms.
Relating to Others
Adults with Asperger's have difficulty relating to others verbally, and they tend to converse by rattling on about things without connecting to the person they are speaking to. They react inappropriately in social situations, sometimes creating shock and embarrassment. When they realise that this has happened, they may withdraw into themselves, or they may become angry. Because of this, others just think the adult with Asperger's is strange, disconnected and weird, and will avoid contact with them.
The inability of the adult with Asperger's to relate to others can create real turmoil for the family and those who care about her. In many instances Asperger's goes undiagnosed, and by the time it is finally recognised, the stress and frustration has taken its toll on both the family and the Asperger's patient. Asperger's is a lonely disease. Because of her social ineptitude, it is difficult for an adult with Asperger's to have any significant or meaningful long-term relationships with friends and family members.
Help Through Coaching
The adult with Asperger's typically needs social training and conditioning to teach him how to relate to others, read social cues and participate normally in day-to-day social situations. He needs help understanding what those around him are saying, thinking and feeling. The Asperger's coach will work with the individual to help him comprehend and try to "read" social situations. The coach will also help him implement routines, organise his day and help him identify areas of his life that need improvement.
Through commitment, patience and support from family members, good friends and trained professionals, the adult with Asperger's can live a life of happiness and fulfilment.