Traits of Asperger's Syndrome

Concerned that her son Jared may have Asperger’s Syndrome, Joyce gives him a book – Tony Attwood’s Asperger’s Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals – to read. Attwood, who has operated a clinical practice in Australia for those with Asperger’s since 1992, is one of the world’s foremost experts on the disorder. Below is a quick guide to Attwood’s “Australian Scale for Asperger’s Sydrome,” which aids in diagnosing the disorder. However, Attwood notes that there is no universally agreed upon set of traits. Body Awareness purposefully avoids indicating a diagnosis in either direction for Jared.

Here is a quick guide with traits of Asperger’s Syndrome.

A. Social and Emotional Abilities
-solitary tendencies
-lack of awareness of the “unwritten rules” of social play or of social conventions
-lack of empathy or subtlety
-difficulty expressing emotions or tailoring the expression to be appropriate in a given situation or relationship.

B. Communication Skills
-lack of eye contact
-unusual voice modulation (e.g. accented or monotone) and linguistic selection (e.g. overly formal/precise)
-lack of interest in the interlocutor
-difficulty getting back a lost conversational track

C. Cognitive Skills
-excellent memory
-reads for information, not diversion
-lack of social imaginative play

D. Specific Interests
-develops elaborate routines
-distressed by changes to routines
-extreme interest in specific subjects

E. Movement Skills
-poor motor coordination

PHOTO: Dustin Ingram as Jared, photo by Alexander Iziliaev

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