Many people have at least an idea of what autism is. What many people don’t know what Asperger’s is. I am asked quite commonly “What exactly is Asperger’s?” or told “I think I have a bit of Asperger’s as well. With symptoms my whole life and just getting diagnosed as an 18 year old (last year) , I feel I am qualified enough to tell you some symptoms.
- Obsessing over one thing for an extended period of time
- Schedules, Schedules, Schedules. If your doctor’s appointment is supposed to be at 2 pm, then the doctor better get you at 2 pm exactly, or there will be a ton of anxiety.
- Sensory issues-food is too mushy, paper is too rough, the smell of a certain trees sets off a panic attack,. Two words: Not. Fun.
- Stimming- This is when a certain motion, such as flapping your hands, wringing your hands,rocking and so much more
All of these might not be present in every case.
The biggest aspect of Asperger’s Syndrome is the lack of social skills. Eye contact is extremely hard. It makes your stomach do gymnastics and your heart beat so hard, it feels like it’s going to burst through your chest. It seems useless, and I still think that it is, but in truth, you need to make contact with your future boss who will take it as you are dishonest if you don’t. Professors expect you you look them in your eye so they know you are paying attention. It is extremely important.
Making friends is also hard. Those with Asperger’s will try to be just like the person, just so you fit in. It is hard to fit in. You talk way too much about your obsessions and don’t pay attention to other’s conversation unless it is about what you were talking about. Jokes are a no-no because you take everything literally.You trust too easily, so people can control you, and you still think they are your friend.
It is hard, but there are ways to help you improve social skills: For eye contact, look slightly above the person you are talking to’s head . It will look like you are making eye contact, but you are not looking directly at them.
For listening to someone, even if you aren’t interested in it, you can keep bringing your mind back to it. Put your thoughts aside and let the person in.
If jokes confuse you, ask for an explanation. Some people say that it makes the joke boring, but if you know what it means, it can help you later on.
Having Asperger’s is hard, but it is just a part of me. I can manage my symptoms better than before, but still struggle. Asperger’s needs to be taught to people, so they will not misuse the word, and will understand how to help us. We are not our Autism, but we are puzzle pieces in the puzzle of life.
2 thoughts on “Asperger’s and Social Skills”
Thank you for writing this. Our doctor suspects my oldest son (age 5) has Aspergers. He demonstrates all 4 symptoms (just this morning he was really upset because he thought we were going to be late to school). 🙂 We haven’t had him officially diagnosed, but his teacher at his Montessori preschool is certified to teach autistic kids and we have seen incredible progress with him since he started attending (he speaks in nearly complete sentences now, is making eye contact for a second when prompted and is excelling rapidly in math). Do you think it is important to obtain an official diagnosis? Any pros and cons we might want to consider?
Thanks for your questions! There are some benefits to getting an official diagnosis. It will help you get help in school. It seems like he has some good support at his preschool, but if you choose to send him to a public school as he gets older, he will be able to get more help. An IEP (Individualized Education Program) could be put in place with a diagnosis. They would help you with anything a child needs, such as being in a classroom designed for your child to be with other kids with disabilities. He could also be put in an inclusion classroom to work along side other students without disabilities. It can also help him to get into occupational or speech therapies.
I can’t really say there are cons to it. In the long run it will be a huge help for your child. I highly recommend your child be evaluated. Hope this helps!