There are many myths about Asperger’s syndrome. We’re here to clear up the confusion.
Asperger’s syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder. It affects a person’s ability to communicate and socialize.
Once used as a diagnosis on its own, Asperger’s has now integrated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Asperger’s is no longer an official diagnosis, and as of May 2013, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5) only has one broad category for autism — ASD — instead of listing disorders within the spectrum.
Though the term is no longer used in clinical contexts, many people still resonate with it. Autism presents itself in many ways, and people who have good language skills but may be socially awkward find Asperger’s more fitting for their unique set of symptoms.
Now, “level 1 autism” may be used instead of Asperger’s.
People with Asperger’s may have difficulty navigating conversations. Some people may misinterpret this as rudeness.
While they’re capable of being rude just like anybody else, people with Asperger’s often have difficulty reading social cues and can seem tactless. They may avoid eye contact or misunderstand social conventions, so making friends and “fitting in” can be more challenging.
People with Asperger’s can also appear uninterested in social situations. Instead of a back-and-forth cadence, they may tend to monopolize conversations by talking about themselves or their special interests. These conversations can seem one-sided.
They may seem detached, which could stem from the difficulty to understand nonverbal cues like body language or recognize when someone is upset. This could also be from being overstimulated and overwhelmed.
Though there’s a myth they are blunt and selfish, people with Asperger’s can be very kind.
It’s no secret that autistic people have many talents and abilities. Some folks assume all people with Asperger’s are gifted or have a very high IQ.
While this is true for some in the autistic community, being on the spectrum doesn’t automatically make you a musical, mathematical, artistic, or another type of genius.
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One symptom of autism that people with Asperger’s tend to have is special interests. They may find something to fixate on, such as a certain type of animal, fun activity, or subject.
They can be perceived as being highly intelligent because they can usually talk about their special interests for hours and appear to know everything about their interests.
Like anyone, people with level 1 autism can have unique or impressive strengths but may also have difficulty in other areas.
When having a conversation with a person with Asperger’s, they may seem blunt, emotionless, or lacking in empathy. This is a stereotype that creates misconceptions about neurodevelopmental disorders.
Though they may have trouble navigating social interactions, people with Asperger’s are capable of understanding the feelings and emotions of others. They can have difficulty processing complex emotions, and there may be a delay in understanding how others are feeling.
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People with Asperger’s also have morality, which is the subject of
Asperger’s doesn’t go away. It’s not a phase that children or adults grow out of. It’s a disorder with a lifelong diagnosis.
There’s no “cure” for autism. It’s a part of who people are. It’s not treatable with medication or other therapies, but treatments — such as therapy, educational support, and other resources — can help manage any symptoms.
People with Asperger’s and social anxiety disorder may share an overlap of symptoms. Both disorders are characterized by difficulty navigating social situations. However, their causes are much different.
Social anxiety disorder is caused by fear, but people with the disorder are capable of communicating and socializing without challenges. Their fear may hold them back, but they likely understand social cues.
People with Asperger’s lack the awareness of social conventions to comfortably engage with others in social settings. They may find it difficult to understand nonverbal cues like body language or comprehend jokes in a nonliteral sense that can stilt conversations.
Level 1 autism, which used to be called Asperger’s syndrome, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by social awkwardness, hyperfixation on special interests, repetitive behaviors, hypersensitivity to stimuli, and more.
There are stereotypes about the disorder that perpetuate misinformation and myths. The autism spectrum is wide, and not everyone with level 1 autism is the same.
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