Asperger disease, the syndrome explained | Part 1

A person reading a book. Those with Asperger's disease are often highly intelligent.

People with Asperger's disease are often highly intelligent but lack social skills. Image from Flickr.

Asperger’s disease — the focus of last night’s episode of “Parenthood” on NBC — is a form of autism. It is commonly referred to as “high-functioning autism.” Asperger’s disease is a complex and hard to understand syndrome, but as celebrities, the media and several organizations have strived to raise awareness about autism in all its forms, people are starting to understand. It takes a lot of study to really understand Asperger’s disease, but here is a crash course to get you started.

Asperger’s disease affects behavior

The main way in which Asperger’s disease manifests itself is through social interaction — or lack thereof. People with Asperger’s disease might appear to have some type of strange obsessive-compulsive disorder, as they engage in repetitive behavior patterns. For instance, they might meticulously reread an installment loan application before submitting it.They also often have restrictions, such as refusing to eat specific  foods, be around particular objects or go to certain places.

As you can already see, Aperger’s disease can be very difficult to diagnose, as behaviors such as refusing foods are very common in children. So don’t go around diagnosing people with OCD or picky eaters with Asperger’s syndrome. Leave that to the professionals.

Aperger’s disease and social interaction

The reason social interactions with people who have Aperger’s disease seem strange is that Asperger’s causes an inability to feel empathy, lack of interest in others and an absence of emotional connection. This is confusing because Asperger’s syndrome can also cause people to have disproportionate emotional reactions, such as extreme anger, to seemingly small events.

People with Asperger’s disease often don’t pick up on social cues, such as noticing when others are bored or irritated. Asperger’s syndrome is considered a high-functioning form of autism because those who have it can generally function in society, just with a certain degree of awkwardness. Also, people with Asperger syndrome are often very intelligent; many could understand no fax loans better than I. For more information, such as who discovered it and what causes Asperger’s disease, check out part 2.

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