At Freedom Care we aim to offer person centred outcomes for adults with learning disabilities and mental health care needs. One of our specialisms is caring for people across all stages of the autism spectrum.  One form of autism is Asperger Syndrome. Asperger syndrome is a mild form of autism which affects a person’s ability to communicate and relate to those around them. In this week’s blog we take a closer look at Asperger syndrome with a particular focus on how it affects the lives of adults and their families.

According to the National Autistic Society (NAS), autism is an incurable developmental disability, in which one’s ability to communicate and relate to the outside world is impaired. The term Asperger Syndrome has been in existence for 60 years and derived from the Austrian paediatrician Hans Asperger, who believed that mildly autistic people could lead normal lives, if given the support and encouragement to do so.

A friend of Freedom Care was recently diagnosed as having mild Asperger Syndrome. They are in their early fifties and have been married for many years. The diagnosis was not so much a surprise as a relief as it explained a lot of his ongoing behavioural traits. This is not an uncommon reaction. Often people being diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome are overjoyed because finally everything makes sense to them — why they can’t hold a job, keep a relationship. They have blamed themselves all their lives. Now they have a framework in which to understand their difficulties and their strengths.

So, what are the symptoms of Asperger’s? While every person who has Asperger’s will experience different symptoms and severity of symptoms, some of the more common characteristics include:

  • average or above average intelligence
  • inability to think in abstract ways
  • difficulties in empathising with others
  • problems with understanding another person’s point of view
  • hampered conversational ability
  • problems with controlling feelings such as anger, depression and anxiety
  • adherence to routines and schedules
  • stress if expected routine is disrupted
  • inability to manage appropriate social conduct
  • specialised fields of interest or hobbies.

To read more about Asperger Syndrome and other aspects of autism, look at The National Autistic Society’s excellent website.

Some people with Asperger syndrome are very talented in their chosen field of interest. They may enjoy academic and vocational success. With support from family and friends they can lead satisfying and fulfilling lives. Like our friend, diagnoses often take place later in life and can help to explain why they have always found certain things difficult. Various treatments can be helpful to sufferers of Asperger’s, such as therapies,  interventions, and dietary changes. Some people may choose not to do anything about their diagnosis, and just accept it as a fact.

We thought it might be useful to read the personal experience of a middle-aged man with Asperger syndrome. Whilst at Freedom Care we are more used to providing specialist care services for people of all ages with more severe forms of autism, this article is a moving and enlightening glimpse into the world that autistic people face every day.

If you have a family member that needs help with coping with any form of autism, contact Freedom Care today to see how we can help you at any stage of your journey.

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