Asperger Syndrome and the Autistic Spectrum
Asperger Syndrome (AS) is on the Autistic Spectrum and individuals with AS are generally of average to above average intelligence. However they experience difficulties in a range of areas, including social relationships and communication as well as a rigidity in their patterns of activities. While AS is a disability, many of the features of the condition are also strengths and actually facilitate achievement and success in several spheres, especially if individuals are highly motivated and have focused areas of interest or specialty. Whilst AS does not affect as many women compared with men, it is generally agreed that their presentation may be more subtle and hence, more of a “hidden disability”. Women may find that they have been able to “mask” the condition for a number of years and are not infrequently overlooked or misdiagnosed.
Asperger Syndrome involves a complex pattern of development, often with co-morbid conditions like depression, anxiety, dyslexia and dyspraxia. This results in a broad clinical spectrum with individuals affected differently and to different degrees. Furthermore, the presentation may change over time as individuals learn or adapt.