Asperger's Syndrome is a developmental disorder disability that is characterized by social interaction deficits, impaired communication skills, and unusual behaviors. It is sometimes referred to as "high functioning autism." Tony Attwood, one of the foremost authorities in the field of Asperger's Syndrome, describes it as: "A neurological disorder that affects one's ability to understand and respond to other's thoughts and feelings."
The following characteristics may be present in an individual with Asperger's Syndrome. Due to the diversity and complexity of this disability, some of the characteristics or problems discussed may not be evident in a particular individual. An understanding of these characteristics is important, because the behavior of these individuals is frequently misinterpreted. Many behaviors that seem odd or unusual are due to the disability and not the result of intentional rudeness.
Example: (Student arrives at your office at 1:40). "We have only 20 minutes to work together. At 2:00, I'm going to ask you to take my suggestions home and start making changes to your paper. Come to my office tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 and show me what you've done."
These students may have impressive vocabularies and an excellent rote memory, but may have difficulty with high-level thinking and comprehension skills. They can give the false impression that they understand, when in reality they may be repeating what they have heard or read. Many individuals with Asperger's Syndrome are visual learners. Techniques suggested for students with learning disabilities who are visual learners are often helpful.
Students with Asperger Syndrome: A Guide for College Personnel by Lorraine E. Wolf, Jane Thierfeld Brown, and G. Ruth Kukiela BorkAdapted with permission from Lisa Mitchell, AAPC Publishing.