Understanding Asperger's Syndrome- Part 3

This week we have been discussing issues that are common with people who have Aspergers' syndrome.  One of the most common characteristics of these individuals is that when interacting with other people, they can take what is being said literally. Those with Aspberger syndrome struggle with social skills because of how they interact and interpret meaning to what is being said.

Taking Information Literally

For instance, if someone says "Have a seat" a person with Aspbergers might pick up a chair. This might seem strange to some, but for them, they interpret the meaning of what is being said to be literal in meaning.  This can be awkward and uncomfortable for people who do not understand, which can lead to some individuals even being offended because of their responses.  Social interactions for those with Aspbergers is one of their greatest challenges.

People with Aspberger's can also say things literally, which in some social situations, can make people feel uneasy because of their inability to filter their comments or responses in a socially acceptable way.  Picking up on social cues from others is also very difficult for these individuals because they have difficulty reading non-verbal communication or body language

Finally, "Aspies," as they like to be called, have difficulty with humor, often unable to get a joke or may take offense to what is being said, because of lack of understanding.  These individuals prefer straightforward, concrete and clear information.  This is how they are better able to process what is being said.

Interacting with and being mindful of these social challenges can be a positive experience when interacting with those with Aspberger's.  However, it requires us to be more patient and understanding of where they are coming from. 

Written by Emily Freeze, MPH, MA, LMFTA

Emily Freeze, MPH, MA, LMFTA is a marriage and family therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Emily enjoys doing individual counseling, couples counseling and family counseling. Emily specializes in women's issues, specifically maternal mental health and reproductive mental health.

Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.