There’s no “cure” or “treatment” for Asperger’s syndrome — it needs understanding and support. Many people will benefit from support to help them live in a world designed for nonautistic people.
Asperger’s syndrome is an old term for a form of autism that falls under the umbrella of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5) no longer uses the term Asperger’s syndrome, but many people continue to self-identify with the label.
If you have symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome, you might find that differences in your sensory experiences, social interactions, and communication make it difficult to interact with nonautistic people, leading to misunderstandings.
Some people find that getting additional support, such as psychotherapy or occupational therapy, can help them cope with various difficulties.
When it comes to talking about autism, we use identity-first language rather than person-first language. This is why we say “autistic person” rather than “person with autism.”
For many autistic people, this language is preferable because autism is seen as part of their identity, not something separate from their personhood.
No matter how much support you need, you can find benefits in learning how to manage your mental health and develop coping skills.
According to the DSM-5, there are three levels of autism:
- Level 1: requiring support
- Level 2: requiring substantial support
- Level 3: requiring very substantial support
Asperger’s syndrome would have been under “Level 1,” meaning it requires less support than other forms of autism.
Types of therapy
If you have Asperger’s syndrome, you may have trouble relating to others or reading their feelings. You may also express your emotions in different ways. This can sometimes cause significant anxiety.
You might have grown up feeling “different” or unlike your peers. It might feel like others don’t understand you or know how to communicate with you in the way you’d like. Often, people find this lonely and isolating.
These factors can make everyday social interactions difficult, including school life, work life, and relationships with family and friends.
Many adults will learn to interact with nonautistic people, which can ease communication — but it can also feel exhausting.
You might find that talking with a mental health professional who specializes in autism or Asperger’s syndrome can help you deal with stress, anxiety, and depression. They can help you identify and connect with your strengths, and handle challenges.
Different types of therapy can help you manage social and behavioral challenges that cause anxiety in your daily life. These can include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which can help you manage your emotions and behavior patterns.
- Occupational therapy, which focuses on feeling better about social interactions, developing self-care skills, improving motor skills, and sensory integration therapy to help reduce sensitivities to noises, lights, sounds, or touch.
Managing existing mental health conditions
Many people with Asperger’s syndrome live with mental health conditions, such as:
You may find that getting treatment for any other conditions can help improve your quality of life. These treatments may involve talk therapy, medication, or both.
According to a
- 28% have ADHD
- 20% have an anxiety disorder
- 11% have a depressive disorder
- 9% have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- 5% have bipolar disorder
- 4% have schizophrenia
Spending time with animals
Some autistic people find that interacting with animals provides a sense of connection and engagement that’s sometimes hard to find in daily life. Equine therapy — a form of therapy where you interact with or ride horses — has helped some people.
You could also talk with your doctor or therapist about the possibility of adopting an emotional support animal, like a dog or cat.
Some autistic people find that music therapy helps them feel connected to others. Music is a nonverbal and gentle way of relating to others, providing a means for communication.
Like music therapy, art therapy can provide another way to communicate and connect with others. These creative outlets can also help reduce sensory overwhelm by providing auditory and tactile stimulation.
Relaxation methods — like massage, yoga, walking in nature, or journaling — helps many people de-stress, giving you more energy to tackle the day.
Diet and nutrition
Some medical professionals believe there’s a link between autism and diet. Because of this, many autistic people avoid things like gluten or casein, and they may take supplements like omega-3 fatty acids or vitamin B12.
Still, there’s not much research into diet and Asperger’s syndrome. According to a
It’s important to consider, too, that restricting your diet too much can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
In general, following a balanced diet full of nutrients — focusing on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein — can provide many benefits for everyone’s mental and physical health.
Finding supportive communities — online or in person — to connect with other autistic people can feel validating and offer you a space to connect with people who share similar experiences.
Having a supportive work environment, and receiving accommodations as needed in work or employment settings, can make a world of difference in your day-to-day life.
Many people with Asperger’s can find effective ways to feel comfortable with any communication and behavioral differences they have.
People might still find social situations and personal relationships challenging. But seeking support and addressing anything that’s causing you distress can improve your quality of life. Treating any other condition is important, too.
If you’re looking for local U.S.-based support, the Autism Society of America provides resources, referral services, and education.
You can also check out the following autism organizations and resources to find support and connect with other autistic people:
- Autism Self Advocacy Network
- Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network
- Autism Research Institute
- Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered
- Autism Empowerment, who offer a list of national and international resources