What is Asperger Syndrome?
Asperger Syndrome is a form of autism and affects how an individual perceives the world around them. As with all forms of Autism each person is affected differently but there is a similarity in behavioural patterns. Those with the condition are often considered to be of above average intelligence.
Social interactions tend to be particularly difficult for those with Asperger Syndrome and although they often have strong language skills it is the interpretation of others’ communication both verbal and non-verbal that can be difficult.
How would I know if my child has Asperger Syndrome?
The way that Asperger Syndrome presents itself will vary from person to person. Below are a few of the common signs that would warrant further investigation:
- A strong desire for routine and rules, becoming easily distressed with deviation from these
- Above average levels of anxiety that may present themself in a variety of ways including behaviourally
- Difficulty building rapport with peers or strangers and prefers to play or be alone
- Trouble detecting social cues and body language
- Difficulty playing games that require imagination
- Demonstrates an intense interest in certain topics
- Struggles to show or feel empathy for others
How can occupational therapy help a child with Asperger Syndrome?
Our team of expert paediatric occupational therapists are skilled at working with children and young people with Asperger Syndrome at different stages of life, from pre-school to those looking to live independently. We recognise that Asperger Syndrome affects each individual and family differently so we aim to provide a consultative approach to make everyday life as smooth as possible. With effective treatment, children and young people with Asperger Syndrome can develop strategies to manage their condition and minimise its impact.
Management strategies for home or school may include:
- Educating - teaching parents and school staff how to identify strengths & weaknesses and how to recognise early signs of distress.
- Developing social stories - to help teach the child or young person how to act in certain situations such as initiating social communication with class mates.
- Supporting transitions – such as starting school, moving on to college or employment, or living independently.
- Assessing sensory processing - helping identify what the difficulties are (such as loud noises, crowded places) and how these are impacting on daily life so that strategies and treatment can be provided as needed.
- Introducing visual cues - to support routines and introduce new activities, or a change in task.
- Developing routines - creating ideas to provide routine and structure, to help manage daily life and cope when changes occur.
- Helping build physical skills - developing strength and coordination to enable a child to participate in activities with their peers.
If you would like to learn more about how we as occupational therapists can help overcome common difficulties associated with Asperger Syndrome, you will find some useful links at the bottom of this page.