Thank you for reaching out on The BetterHelp Platform with your question:
Do I have an Asperger? And if I have then what should i do?
I will share some information with you about the signs of Asperger's syndrome. In order to get a full diagnosis of your symptoms you will need to reach out to your medical provider as your initial step. You will need to schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist to comeplete a full evaluation.
In reflecting with what you share could determine a number of diagnosis known in the field of psychology and pyschiatry and without a full evaluation.
Symptoms Revealing the Asperger’s Syndrome
Asperger’s syndrome is considered a neurobiological condition. It falls on the autism spectrum, though at the higher functioning level of this spectrum. It is estimated that approximately 1 in every 500 people have this condition, and it affects people of all ages.
Those who have Asperger’s syndrome tend to be extremely intelligent. For example, they can recall information after only reading or hearing about it one time. However, despite their extreme intelligence, those who have Asperger’s syndrome do experience significant issues that can impact their daily lives and their ability to relate to others in a “normal” manner.
While the symptoms of this condition do vary from person to person, often, these symptoms can make several aspects of their lives. Given how common Asperger’s is, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms. The earlier intervention begins, the better the outcome.
Here’s a look at some common signs of Asperger’s syndrome.
1. An inability to pick up on social cues
During infancy and toddlerhood, people do not have the ability to read, understand, and react to social cues. However, as children develop, they should naturally start to develop the ability to pick up on cues from others.
For someone who has Asperger’s syndrome, this may be extremely difficult to do. For example, a child with this condition may not have an understanding of personal space, or they may not be able to understand when someone else is expressing signs of sadness or anger. Because of this common symptom of Asperger’s syndrome, people who have this condition often find it difficult to make and retain personal relationships.
This could lead to difficulties in making friends or even connecting with co-workers. As such, someone with this condition might feel “left out” or that they are “different” from their peers, which could lead to additional problems.
2. A tendency to perseverate
Children and adults with Asperger’s syndrome often have a tendency to get “trapped” on their thoughts. When that happens, they lose the ability to focus on anything else and become completely fixated on whatever it is they are talking about. As such, it is not unusual for a person with Asperger’s syndrome to talk incessantly about whatever it is they are fixated on.
This is known as perseverating. Someone who perseverates tends to say the same thing repeatedly, or act in a repetitive manner. He or she may say the same thing or repeat the same action to the point where it no longer makes sense and isn’t willing to stop it. For example, someone with Asperger’s syndrome may like lizards and may get so excited when they see one that they will not stop talking about them, reciting everything they know about the animals.
3. Failure to make eye contact
While someone who has Asperger’s syndrome may be exceptionally smart and may have a tendency to speak excessively (particularly about the same topic), he or she may not be able to make eye contact. That’s because people with Asperger’s often have difficulty with non-verbal communication, which is exactly what eye contact is considered.
Though someone with this disorder may be able to express how he or she is feeling – happy, sad, angry, etc – he or she may not be able to make eye contact with whomever it is that they are sharing their feelings with. The inability to make eye contact can also make other symptoms of Asperger’s more challenging, such as having difficulties with understanding social cues. If you notice that your child or that an adult in your life avoids making eye contact, it could be a sign of Asperger’s syndrome.
4. Doesn’t show empathy
Empathy refers to the ability of someone to see the world from the point-of-view of others. Furthermore, it involves being about to actually picture how someone else is feeling and then caring about how that person is feeling. In order to be empathetic, a person needs to have a variety of skills.
While someone with Asperger’s syndrome might be able to see that someone else is hurting or in pain and might actually care that someone else is having those feelings, he or she may not know how to properly respond to what they see and understand someone else is experiencing in a proper manner. People with Asperger’s might want to respond to the way others are feeling, but they may not know how to do so. As such, people who have this disorder are often viewed as not having empathy, which can make them seem uncaring.
5. Speaks in a very formal manner
Those who have Asperger’s syndrome often tend to speak in a very formal manner. While this might be acceptable in a setting where formal speech would apply, in casual settings, such as conversations with classmates in the lunchroom, this type of speaking can seem awkward and abnormal.
The reason why people with Asperger’s syndrome have a tendency to speak in a formal manner is that they are highly intelligent, and as such, they may have a firm understanding of more formal words that others simply aren’t familiar with or that just don’t sound normal when used in an everyday conversation.
For instance, instead of using the word “and”, a teenager who has Asperger’s syndrome may use the words “moreover” or “furthermore” while they are speaking. While these words are certainly proper, other people might think that they sound strange, odd, or “weird”.
6. Uses a monotonous speaking voice
A lot of people who have Asperger’s syndrome speak in a monotone voice. Instead of inflecting or changing the tone or pitch of the voice, a person with this disorder might speak in a flat voice and won’t change the variation of his or her voice. As such, someone with Asperger’s syndrome might sound as if he or she speaks in a robotic manner.
As such, it can become boring to listen to someone who has Asperger’s talk, especially if he or she is perseverating. This type of speech, coupled with the use of formal language, could make it even more difficult for someone with this condition to make and maintain personal relationships, as other people might have a difficult time relating to them. Not everyone who speaks in a monotone voice has Asperger’s syndrome, as some people simply speak in this manner.
7. Difficulty breaking from routines
Most people develop some type of routine and are pretty set in their ways. However, should the need to change the routine arise, the “average” person can be flexible and is willing to bend their routine. For people with Asperger’s syndrome, breaking from routine is not only difficult, it can be nearly impossible.
For instance, if a child with this disorder is accustomed to having eggs for breakfast prepared in a particular pan and served at a specific time find that the pan was dirty or that there aren’t any eggs in the house and they have to have something else for breakfast, he or she could very well become severely agitated. That agitation could become so intense that the child could end up throwing a tantrum. In order to avoid challenges, parents should try to prepare their children for any changes that may occur.
8. Severe temper tantrums
Temper tantrums are a normal part of childhood. Even teenagers and adults can have temper tantrums from time to time. For individuals who have Asperger’s syndrome, tantrums are often a common occurrence. They can happen for a number of reasons; for example, as mentioned above, a change in routine could set a tantrum in motion, or experiencing something that they find displeasing. These temper tantrums can range in severity, depending on the degree to which the person is affected.
In some cases, they can be intense and include yelling, thrashing, throwing, or even the infliction of injuries on others or oneself. The reasons these tantrums occur is similar to why toddlers have tantrums; people with Asperger’s syndrome have difficulty monitoring and controlling their emotions. As such, they may find it difficult to contain their frustration when something doesn’t go according to plan or as they see fit.
9. Intense focus on one thing
People with Asperger’s syndrome can become fixated with specific topics that interest them. Their fixation can become so intense that they aren’t interested in anything else and are only interested in discussing the things that interest them (which could lead to perseverating.)
For example, a child with this neurobiological disorder might be fascinated by cars and have no interest in anything else. He or she may only want to play with cars, talk about cars, read about cars, or could even become overly enthralled upon seeing a particular car that he or she finds interesting. This fixation on only a few specific things can further compound other issues that are often associated with Asperger’s, such as the inability to maintain relationships, perseverating, and even temper tantrums. The reason people with this disorder become fixated is unknown, but it is one of the hallmark symptoms of Asperger’s.
10. Would rather be alone
A lot of people who have Asperger’s syndrome are loners. They would rather spend their time by themselves than with other people. For instance, a grownup who has this condition might avoid going out to social functions, or a child with this disorder may not show any interest in playing with other children and making friends.
Moreover, a person affected by this disorder may find it very hard to open up to or even converse with people that they are not comfortable with and do not fully trust. As such, they might seem to be reclusive in nature or may choose to remain silent when being in situations with other people is necessary. This can make other challenges associated with Asperger’s even more difficult, such as making eye contact and developing relationships. As with many symptoms associated with this disorder, the reason for this symptom is unknown, yet very common.
11. Inappropriate social responses
If you notice that you seem to respond completely inappropriately to certain situations, it could be a sign that he or she has Asperger’s syndrome. It’s not uncommon for people to be absorbed with their own emotions and feelings; however, the “average” person tends to know how to put their own wants, feelings, needs and interests aside when it’s necessary.
I wish you much luck with your next step with what you are experiencing in your life.