The National Autistic Society - What is Asperger syndrome?
What is Asperger syndrome?
Asperger syndrome is a form of autism, which is a lifelong disability that affects how a person makes sense of the world, processes information and relates to other people. Autism is often described as a 'spectrum disorder' because the condition affects people in many different ways and to varying degrees. (For more information about autism, please read our leaflet What is autism?)
Asperger syndrome is mostly a 'hidden disability'. This means that you can't tell that someone has the condition from their outward appearance. People with the condition have difficulties in three main areas. They are:
* social communication
* social interaction
* social imagination.
They are often referred to as 'the triad of impairments' and are explained in more detail below.
While there are similarities with autism, people with Asperger syndrome have fewer problems with speaking and are often of average, or above average, intelligence. They do not usually have the accompanying learning disabilities associated with autism, but they may have specific learning difficulties. These may include dyslexia and dyspraxia or other conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and epilepsy.
With the right support and encouragement, people with Asperger syndrome can lead full and independent lives.