Many of the service users at our home have a range of complex needs, including Aspergers. Around 1 in 100 people live on the autism spectrum, and Aspergers is one neurological disorder within this category.
The good news is that the right support and therapy for Aspergers can be extremely helpful in allowing people to live full and rewarding lives.
So what are the signs to look out for?
1. Single-activity fixation
This is often an ‘aha’ moment for parents with children who play with one toy fixedly and for far longer than their peers. The fixation could be on a particular toy, a theme, or even a colour. People with Aspergers tend to have a few interests that completely preoccupy them.
2. Obviously smart!
People with Aspergers tend to have excellent and highly advanced verbal skills, but they may only want to talk about their topic of fixation. Children with Aspergers often tend to prefer talking to adults or talk in a notably formal way.
3. Difficulty with social cues
People with Aspergers often find social cues difficult and struggle to read body language. At school or within social settings, group work can be difficult, and the individual can talk at length without knowing how to engage in a two-way conversation. This can lead to isolation amongst peers, but the good news is that even younger children can be supported with strategies that help them to learn how to read people and groups.
4. Routine needs
Structure will be extremely important along with familiar routines. These can be very strict indeed, and provide a sense of comfort and understanding of the world. Again, with therapy for Aspergers, people can learn to become less rigid in their need for structure.
5. Emotional meltdown
Children, especially, can have meltdowns when they become tired and overwhelmed. When routines go awry or the structure falls apart, they may find it hard to manage their emotions.
6. A lack of empathy
Aspergers Syndrome often leads to an apparent lack of empathy for others, almost as though the person is in a bubble. This is often reinforced by a demonstration of unusual physical cues, like a reluctance to make eye contact.
7. Delayed motor skills
Another common sign can be a delay in motor skills, such as riding a bike, skipping or even walking. Of course, children develop at different ages, but for those with Aspergers, these motor and physical skills can be further developed at any age with the right support and care.
8. Heightened sensitivity
Many people with Aspergers have a far higher degree of sensitivity to sensory surroundings, which can lead to overstimulation. If you imagine being in a very noisy environment with lights flashing in your eyes and rough clothing that is irritating your skin, this gives a sense of the challenge.
The good news is that expertly delivered therapy and support services can make all the difference to your loved one with Aspergers. Contact us to find out more.