Asperger’s- Myths and Facts
December 8, 2015
The terms Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Spectrum Disorders and Pervasive Developmental Disorder are thrown around and used interchangeably, often confusing the true meaning and characteristics of each. While there is considerable overlap among the different forms of autism, each type has specific characteristics that make them unique. Let’s look a little more closely at Asperger’s Syndrome and the common myths that are confused as facts about this disorder.
The discovery of Asperger Syndrome (AS) dates back to 1944. Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger described the syndrome when he was treating four boys with similar symptoms. Asperger’s Syndrome is a developmental disorder marked by cognitive and language difficulties. People with AS have a difficult time interacting, communicating and connecting with others. They’re unable to pick up on social cues and express their emotions. Asperger’s syndrome is considered mild compared to other ASDs (Autism Spectrum Disorders).
There are numerous pieces of misinformation and falsehoods that have developed about this syndrome.
- Myth: Asperger’s syndrome is just a form of social anxiety.
- Fact: While children and adults with AS have difficulty with social interaction and may resist taking any initiative in starting a conversation or interacting with peers, AS is different than social anxiety disorder. Those with social anxiety have the skills to interact with others, but their fear stops them. Those with AS lack skills such as reading social cues and body language and often take everything literally so conversation is stilted. (Health Central)
- Myth: All people with AS are geniuses in math and science.
- Fact: While some people with AS have high intelligence in these areas others have an average range of IQ in these areas. (Autism Speaks)
- Myth: People with AS can grow out of the syndrome.
- Fact: Some people with AS do experience a lessening of symptoms or can better manage symptoms because of occupational, physical or behavioral therapies and while they still have difficulty with social situations, they may not continue to meet all the diagnostic criteria. However, AS is a lifelong condition and does not just “go away” as a child grows up. (Psych Central)
- Myth: People with AS can not get married.
- Fact: The reality is that some adults do get married and have families even with AS.