Aspergers is a form of Autism. As many of you will be aware, Autism is a spectrum condition and each case can be very different in the way that it is presented. It can be severe or mild, but still important nonetheless!
People with Aspergers see, hear and feel the world differently in comparison to other people. The symptoms of Aspergers may differ from person to person, however here are some of the things that they may experience:
Individuals with Aspergers often have average or above average intelligence. This may not be in any specific area, it could just be in general. Those with Aspergers do not tend to have learning disabilities like many other autistic individuals, although they may have learning difficulties and so may need extra help and support in the learning environment.
Many people with autism struggle with speech, however, those with Aspergers tend to have fewer speech problems, though they may find it difficult to understand and process some language.
Aspergers can also make the individual see the world in an overwhelming way, which can contribute to feelings of anxiety and they may feel as though no one understands them.
They may also find it hard to use and understand facial expressions, the tone of voice, jokes and sarcasm as well as vagueness and abstract concepts.
Other signs and symptoms include:
- Finding it hard to make and maintain friendships
- Poor eye contact or staring at people
- Having trouble interpreting gestures
- They may engage in inappropriate behaviours and show ‘odd’ mannerisms
- Struggle to express empathy
- Have a lack of common sense
- Have a tendency to engage in one-sided conversations about oneself
- They may interpret information as being literal
People with Aspergers are also more likely to be diagnosed with other conditions such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, Tourettes and epilepsy.
It is important to remember that no two cases of Aspergers will be exactly the same. It is a spectrum condition and therefore will affect people in different ways. Some people may show mild signs and symptoms whereas others may show more severe symptoms and may need extra help in certain areas.
History of Aspergers:
Hans Asperger was a Vienesse child psychologist who published the first definition of Aspergers Syndrome in 1944. He recorded the behaviour patterns of 4 young boys which he referred to as ‘Autistic Psychopathy’ (meaning autism personality disease). The 4 boys showed a lack of empathy towards others, with little ability to form friendships, one-sided conversations, an intense absorption of a special interest, and clumsy movements.
The paper written by Hans Asperger suggests that this research was based only on 4 boys, however, Dr. Günter Krämer from Zurich, who knew Hans Asperger stated that Asperger’s findings were based on more than 400 children.
Hans Asperger has been praised as a pioneer in the field of child psychiatry and the understanding of Aspergers Syndrome and the Autistic Spectrum…However, earlier this year findings in regards to Hans have slowly come to light.
It was found that Hans Asperger was an active participant in the Nazi Regime, assisting in the ‘Euthanasia Programme’ and supporting the concept of racial hygiene, deeming whether or not children were ‘worthy of life’.
It was recently found in previously untouched documents of the state and personal files of Hans, that he frequently referred children to the Am Spiegelgrund clinic, which was known as a drop-off point for children who failed to conform to the Nazi Regimes criteria of being ‘worthy of life’.
Over 800 children died in that clinic between the years 1940 and 1945, many of whom were murdered via the Euthanasia Programme.
It is unknown whether Hans specifically chose children based on their diagnosis of autism, or whether he selected them in another manner… but he continued to be a child doctor for many years after the collapse of the Nazi Regime.
It is currently unknown about what will happen with this information in the future, whether Asperger Syndrome will be renamed… but Asperger charities will be updating all of their information accordingly.