How to be a good friend to someone who has asperger’s syndrome

How to be a good friend to someone who has asperger's syndrome

For many people who have the disorder, learning how to make friends with Aspergers can be one of the most difficult life skills to accomplish. Due to a lack of social and communication skills, children and adults with Asperger syndrome often find friendships hard to come by. Fortunately, a few steps can make it easier for Asperger sufferers to forge new and lasting relationships.

Why so Tough?

Like other disorders along the autism spectrum, people with AS suffer from impairment in social interactions leading to difficulty learning how to make friends with Aspergers. Even the most high-functioning children and adults experience social difficulties like the ones in the following list.

  • Makes poor eye contact
  • Has difficulty interpreting facial expressions, body language and hand gestures
  • Seems to lack empathy and the ability to reciprocate emotions properly
  • Often makes social blunders such as standing too close to people
  • Has trouble recognizing social cues
  • Displays difficulty sharing interests with other people
  • Doesn’t always understand peer slang or humor
  • Finds it difficult to recognize who might become a friend

Related Articles

  • Aspergers Checklist for Adults
  • Autistic Brain Games
  • Things to Do with Autistic Children in Kindergarten

People who are not familiar with AS may find these impairments to be strange and in some cases frightening, which can distance them from the rest of the world. As adolescence and early adulthood approach, individuals with AS become more aware of the ways in which they are different, resulting in loneliness and stress. If left unchecked, these bewildering emotions can lead to anxiety and depression that may persist well into adulthood. Families that want to expose their Asperger loved ones to relationship opportunities is first to seek out areas of inclusion and then to follow some of the steps outlined in the following sections.

Tips on How to Make Friends with Aspergers

Beginning very early in their childhoods, individuals with Asperger syndrome can begin learning effective ways to read social cues as well as how to cultivate the proper responses. Comprehensive treatment plans combined with home and school strategies that adopt some of the concepts discussed here help build these social skills over a lifetime.

Conversation Tips

One of the most helpful things individuals with Aspergers can do to forge new friendships is learn basic socialization skills as early as possible. Committed to memory and reinforced on a daily basis, these tips instill confidence and give people with Asperger the tools to start long-term relationships.

  • Practice eye contact with family members and in the mirror daily
  • Practice keeping an arm’s length distance during conversation
  • Remember to vary the tone of voice
  • Allow other people to talk about their interests
  • Try not to dominate the conversation with personal interests
  • Don’t change the subject
  • Keep other people’s interests in mind
  • Answer questions
  • Practice good listening skills
  • Learn peer language trends like humor, slang and sarcasm

Conversation Starters

Sometimes, being prepared for awkward silences can save a budding friendship. People with Aspergers typically exhibit a narrow range of interests that others may not care to discuss repeatedly. Teens and young adults can cultivate interests outside of the things to which they are normally attracted so that discussion is more diverse and open to peers. Parents can also encourage this diversity in small children as well. When the conversation hits a lull, try out one of the topics below.

  • Video games
  • Sports
  • Movies
  • Pets
  • Fashion
  • Music
  • Art
  • Books
  • Food

Questions are usually the best way to get the discussion started. For example, a person with Asperger might consider asking their friends what kind of music they like, or what movie they like best. It is also helpful to find friends who already have common interests or engage in similar activities.

Identifying Emotions

Emotions are a particular area of concern, but adults and children with Asperger can learn to watch for emotional cues on their friends’ faces and in their body language. Computer programs for Asperger patients may supply clear demonstrations of exactly which facial expressions signify which emotions. Practicing this system of identification with family members serves to reinforce the concept of emotional cues.

Lasting Friendships

When it comes to learning how to make friends with Aspergers, there are no simple solutions. With time, practice and dedication people with Asperger syndrome can build friendships with people from all walks of life that will last a lifetime.

How to be a good friend to someone who has asperger's syndromeThis is the third in a series of articles designed to explore some of the issues and concerns that arise around what is currently called Asperger’s syndrome, which will soon be incorporated into the broader spectrum of autism disorder when the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is published in 2013.

I had a client we’ll call Brian, a man in his mid-thirties with a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome who came to me to discuss what he referred to as “issues he was having with people at work.”

It is not an unusual request for a person with Asperger’s to want to work on the confusion that surrounds social interactions in general. Interactions at work often are more challenging because in the office, not only do the normal social protocols apply, but there often is an additional layer of a particular corporate culture overlaid upon this basic structure, invisibly directing everything.

Bryan was a pleasant and engaging man. He held good eye contact, spoke with precision, and demonstrated a light touch with humor. His demeanor changed, though, when I asked him about his colleagues in the office where he worked as a certified public accountant.

A quiet earnestness overcame him. He spoke clearly and without breaking to collect his thoughts or in expectation of response. He discussed one individual after another in great detail, including information about the kind of work they did, their areas of responsibility, and where they stood in the hierarchy. This was precisely the sort of information I expected to get from Brian on the topic of work relationships.

Then, however, he began to speak of his colleagues in more personal terms. He knew who was married and who was single. He knew who had children, their names and ages, and the schools they attended. Brian told me who had recently vacationed and where they had gone; who golfed and who played tennis; who had iPhones and who used Androids. He knew the makes and models of everyone’s cars. He knew the names of spouses. He knew which neighborhoods his coworkers called home. He even knew who had housekeepers and who did not.

It might appear surprising on first glance to read that I was given such detailed and personal information about others from a man with Asperger’s who came into my office with self-identified problems related to interpersonal relationships. But I have seen this before. Once you look at this apparent contradiction in another light, you may recognize it, too.

I’m talking about the illusion of friendship.

Further discussion with Brian demonstrated to me that he had gleaned all this information about his coworkers not from interactions with them over time, the way you or I might imagine getting to know the people we work with. Instead, Brian had developed his extensive knowledge of everyone around him by listening and even eavesdropping on conversations others were having around him, but in which he had not once been involved personally.

And he was having problems with his coworkers when he would make a statement revealing his knowledge about a person, info he had no apparently legitimate way of knowing. People became uncomfortable around him because of this and withdrew from him, which left him utterly confused.

Of course, this became the starting point for our work together. Brian had to learn about the ways that acquaintanceships and friendships develop over time. Importantly, he also had to learn the concept of reciprocity: It is not enough to know things about another person, but one must also share personal information about oneself as well in the give-and-take manner of casual conversation. This is how trust develops between people. This is the foundation from which we can make a statement such as, “Oh, yes, I know Brian,” with legitimacy.

Brian had to learn that knowing confidential or intimate facts about another person without that reciprocity was considered socially gauche, and that it had the potential even to be frightening to some individuals. Brian had to learn the difference between having friends and having the illusion that he had friends.

Once we began to tease this distinction apart, Brian began making progress in his social interactions. We used role-playing techniques and many “what-if” exercises, and Brian’s distress around the topic of his work environment noticeably decreased over time.

Test Your Resource For High-Functioning Autism and Asperger Syndrome

  • Family
  • Education: K-12
  • Education: College
  • Adulthood
  • Employment
  • Social Development
  • Medical
  • Depression
  • Driving with Autism

A Commentary by Reese Eskridge

T oo often, neurotypicals expect a perfect useful relationship from a friend. They like friendships to be easygoing with as much similarity between two people as possible. Therefore, they hold higher expectations for the other side, even though the other side shares that same expectation. Due to the absence of fulfillment, neither person makes connections or sometimes people can become unreasonably selective in the friendship process. The reason for this is that both neurotypicals and aspies often feel like outcasts around certain groups of people.

How to be a good friend to someone who has asperger's syndrome

If this happens too frequently, the inclination to make friends declines. However, this shared dilemma can actually help to foster the relationship between an aspie and a neurotypical or an aspie and another aspie, if they are willing to give a chance for that to happen. After all, few things feel more reassuring than being able to take up your worst fears and issues with others, knowing that they will not condemn you for them.

Here are some suggestions for becoming an aspie’s best friend:

1. Invite the aspie to an event. During that first meet and greet,

  • Offer the aspie a very warm welcome and allow them to speak their mind or to be quiet altogether. This strategy helps the aspie to acclimate to their surroundings in all ways.
  • Have fun while allowing the aspie as much space, time, and opportunity for something as he or she desires. This allows you to assess the aspie’s comfort zones and personal traits as they apply to the social context.
  • Make the climate down-to-earth, calm for those who experience sensory overload (or exciting for sensory seekers), and uplifting. Uplifting in this case means that the aspie’s new friend can introduce the aspie to new and engaging opportunities that simultaneously foster personal growth and the personal relationship on both sides.

2. After the first day, express interest in the aspie’s intense interests, even if you do not truly appreciate them at first. Then, inquire about the aspie’s life.

  • Whether it is video games, books, or TV shows, aspies always have that one thing that keeps them preoccupied. The aspie loves to come out of their shell to show their intense interest to others hoping that they will take a similar level of interest in that something. Therefore, allow the aspie to go into detail about it.
  • Additionally, ask questions as you go along day by day, rather than all at once. It is almost never a good idea to either keep completely silent or to jump all over the aspie.
  • If both sides do thoroughly enjoy it all, it sets the tone for an amazing, expanding friendship that makes virtually everything else simpler.

3. As you get to know the aspie, be non-judgmental, but tell the aspie if something is inappropriate in a given instant. Then, demonstrate or explain an example of what they could do better while noting strong and desirable aspects. This kind of accountability helps the aspie to understand the qualities of a true companionship. It is not about enabling, it is about what is in everyone’s best interest.

4. Make a mutual arrangement to try something that is completely unfamiliar to the both of you. After all, there is no better way to conquer fears than with a companion who sees you through it all. This is important for aspies because they require more time to process the thoughts that trigger feelings of intimidation and discomfort.

Simultaneously, however, the aspie’s friend must insist on the aspie to not let those challenging feelings ruin their good time. This is a fully give/fully receive dynamic in which both sides give each other their all.

5. Show the aspie your own interests. This is better in the case of anxiety and overload on the aspie’s part. Aspies typically have a relatively strong inner child and, therefore, have a greater sense of appreciation for the easygoing things, such as arts and crafts, movies, collections, and more. This permits the aspie’s companion to get closer with the aspie.

However, if these activities never promote personal growth, the aspie may fail to develop or take personal responsibility. This enabling can lead to dire consequences in adult life. After all, nobody likes someone who refuses to mature.

6. Help the aspie professionally, as well as personally; this is companionship and integrity at their best! Everybody relies upon somebody else for support in all kinds of life challenges. Examples of which include:

  • offering tips and insights for getting a job
  • taking a particularly useful and intriguing class or course inside or outside of school
  • identifying and sporting a new fashion trend
  • getting involved in a rigorous sport.

In the aspie’s childhood, it could mean getting the aspie to play with other kids using the process above. In adolescence, it could mean expanding interests in order to set future goals and priorities. The adolescent aspects continue into adulthood.

The best-case scenarios encompass activities that allow the aspie the opportunity to develop various transferable skill sets, such as attributing the aspie’s ability to talk about something in-depth to a job interview. This helps to make the aspie better able and more willing to sell their qualities during a job interview or networking event. In short, this kind of relationship allows the aspie to connect the dots at the personal level as they build a high-quality profile and reputation.

To sum it all up, in order to be an amazing friend to an aspie, the best philosophy to adopt is to demonstrate as many definitions of sensitivity, positivity, and accountability as possible. Those who go extra miles for aspies will have the privilege of relishing in the aspie’s pure personality and soul.

How to be a good friend to someone who has asperger's syndrome

Having a romantic relationship with someone with Asperger’s Syndrome can be engaging and rewarding, but it can also be very challenging, especially as the major life changes that often accompany relationships (marriage, home ownership, parenting) shake up the routine of the person with Asperger’s Syndrome and introduce stress and complex dynamics that he or she may be ill-equipped to deal with.

In order to get the best out of your partner with Asperger’s Syndrome, it’s important to keep the following points in mind; remember, however, that all people with Asperger’s Syndrome are different, and thus, so are all marriages with Aspergers partner—Some points may therefore apply more than others. The most fundamental thing to remember is that, like any other marriage, a marriage where Asperger’s Syndrome is present will only work if both partners share a willingness to communicate and understand each other’s needs.

When conversing with your partner who has Asperger’s Syndrome, you should try to:

  • Be as clear and concise as possible; rely on logic and reasoning to reach your partner, not emotion.
  • Be consistent; mean what you say.
  • Be upfront with what you expect and need; “hinting” and other more subtle methods will not have any positive effect on your partner.

Be prepared to deal with extra challenges if you start a family. Those with Asperger’s Syndrome struggle with child-rearing at times because:

  • It’s demanding and stress levels are raised by increased responsibility. Asperger’s Syndrome traits are often aggravated and made more prominent by stress.
  • Established routines become more difficult to keep

To help offset some of these challenges, leverage each partner’s strengths as much as possible, and divide labor in a way that emphasizes and draws on those strengths. Try to maintain common activities that you shared prior; these are often a key source of relaxation for someone with AS. Also, it’s important to access support from professionals who understand AS and how to mitigate its impact on a marriage. If possible, hire help with housekeeping, babysitting, yard work, and financial management.

One should also be vigilant about avoiding “theory of mind” (perspective taking).

Likewise, do not try to negotiate with your partner when tensions are running high. Wait until the stress has passed, then approach the situation logically, without relying too greatly on empathy. Always try to avoid taking things personally; retain an objective perspective as much as possible. Try written communication if you are having a hard time speaking in a non-emotional way.

To get the best out of your partner with Asperger’s Syndrome, create clear written guidelines for what needs to be done around the house, and other duties. Keep requests simple, or break them down into smaller steps. Never assume the person with AS knows what needs to be done (or knows what you want), even if the task seems obvious to you. You’re unlikely to annoy your partner by doing so as long as you remain calm and fair and provide a “why” for your request(s).

And, of course, education is very important for both partners; learn all you can about Asperger’s Syndrome, and communicate freely about how to manage it.

Preventing Your Partner From Getting Overwhelmed

People with Asperger’s Syndrome can be easily overwhelmed and need a fair bit of “down time”. To that end, you should keep the following in mind:

  • Sometimes you may need to give your partner a “break”; try not to take it personally.
  • Remember that he or she can easily experience sensory overload.
  • People with AS struggle to filter conversational input from multiple sources; they may withdraw from such conversations or dominate them.
  • May leave situations without warning when he or she gets overwhelmed, including family gatherings. It’s often best to plan breaks ahead of time.
  • Feel free to attend events and social functions alone. It may be easier for you and give your partner some down time.
  • Understand that your partner with AS needs time to recover from social situations and will likely spend more time on the computer or engaged in solitary hobbies than most people. This is normal for them, and healthy.
  • Anticipate that your partner with AS may need significant down time after work.
  • Have a disclosure strategy in place detailing who to tell about your partner’s AS and when.
  • Understand your partner may resist new ideas at first simply because they are new or seem overwhelming; he or she may come around to them later after he or she has thought it through. Give your partner time to think.

Handling Intimacy

Remember that a person with Asperger’s Syndrome can be hypersensitive to touch, and that light touch may be even harder to handle than more forceful touch. He or she may not pick up automatically on your emotional and physical needs, or experience less of a need for closeness than you do. He or she may forget to express verbal affection as well. Again, do not take it personally; simply remind him or her of your needs, and explain the “why” behind them.

Conclusion

With the right approach, you will find your partner with Asperger’s Syndrome is capable of understanding, generosity, and useful insight. While marriages with Asperger’s Syndrome may be more work at times than neurotypical partnerships, they are sure to teach you many useful skills in the areas of logic and communication that will be applicable throughout your life. These marriages are just as likely to be loving and enriching as any other marriage where good communication and compromise are present.

How to be a good friend to someone who has asperger's syndrome

For many people who have the disorder, learning how to make friends with Aspergers can be one of the most difficult life skills to accomplish. Due to a lack of social and communication skills, children and adults with Asperger syndrome often find friendships hard to come by. Fortunately, a few steps can make it easier for Asperger sufferers to forge new and lasting relationships.

Why so Tough?

Like other disorders along the autism spectrum, people with AS suffer from impairment in social interactions leading to difficulty learning how to make friends with Aspergers. Even the most high-functioning children and adults experience social difficulties like the ones in the following list.

  • Makes poor eye contact
  • Has difficulty interpreting facial expressions, body language and hand gestures
  • Seems to lack empathy and the ability to reciprocate emotions properly
  • Often makes social blunders such as standing too close to people
  • Has trouble recognizing social cues
  • Displays difficulty sharing interests with other people
  • Doesn’t always understand peer slang or humor
  • Finds it difficult to recognize who might become a friend

Related Articles

  • Aspergers Checklist for Adults
  • Autistic Brain Games
  • Things to Do with Autistic Children in Kindergarten

People who are not familiar with AS may find these impairments to be strange and in some cases frightening, which can distance them from the rest of the world. As adolescence and early adulthood approach, individuals with AS become more aware of the ways in which they are different, resulting in loneliness and stress. If left unchecked, these bewildering emotions can lead to anxiety and depression that may persist well into adulthood. Families that want to expose their Asperger loved ones to relationship opportunities is first to seek out areas of inclusion and then to follow some of the steps outlined in the following sections.

Tips on How to Make Friends with Aspergers

Beginning very early in their childhoods, individuals with Asperger syndrome can begin learning effective ways to read social cues as well as how to cultivate the proper responses. Comprehensive treatment plans combined with home and school strategies that adopt some of the concepts discussed here help build these social skills over a lifetime.

Conversation Tips

One of the most helpful things individuals with Aspergers can do to forge new friendships is learn basic socialization skills as early as possible. Committed to memory and reinforced on a daily basis, these tips instill confidence and give people with Asperger the tools to start long-term relationships.

  • Practice eye contact with family members and in the mirror daily
  • Practice keeping an arm’s length distance during conversation
  • Remember to vary the tone of voice
  • Allow other people to talk about their interests
  • Try not to dominate the conversation with personal interests
  • Don’t change the subject
  • Keep other people’s interests in mind
  • Answer questions
  • Practice good listening skills
  • Learn peer language trends like humor, slang and sarcasm

Conversation Starters

Sometimes, being prepared for awkward silences can save a budding friendship. People with Aspergers typically exhibit a narrow range of interests that others may not care to discuss repeatedly. Teens and young adults can cultivate interests outside of the things to which they are normally attracted so that discussion is more diverse and open to peers. Parents can also encourage this diversity in small children as well. When the conversation hits a lull, try out one of the topics below.

  • Video games
  • Sports
  • Movies
  • Pets
  • Fashion
  • Music
  • Art
  • Books
  • Food

Questions are usually the best way to get the discussion started. For example, a person with Asperger might consider asking their friends what kind of music they like, or what movie they like best. It is also helpful to find friends who already have common interests or engage in similar activities.

Identifying Emotions

Emotions are a particular area of concern, but adults and children with Asperger can learn to watch for emotional cues on their friends’ faces and in their body language. Computer programs for Asperger patients may supply clear demonstrations of exactly which facial expressions signify which emotions. Practicing this system of identification with family members serves to reinforce the concept of emotional cues.

Lasting Friendships

When it comes to learning how to make friends with Aspergers, there are no simple solutions. With time, practice and dedication people with Asperger syndrome can build friendships with people from all walks of life that will last a lifetime.

All romantic relationships have challenges and require some work. Being in a relationship with someone who has Asperger’s syndrome (AS) can create an additional challenge, according to psychologist Cindy Ariel, Ph.D, in her valuable book, Loving Someone with Asperger’s Syndrome.

That’s because you and your partner think and feel very differently, she says. And that leaves a lot of room for misunderstanding and miscommunication.

In her book, Ariel provides wise advice and practical exercises to help you improve your relationship and overcome common obstacles. (She suggests keeping a journal to record your responses.) Here are five ideas you might find helpful.

1. Don’t put the blame solely on your partner.

Your partner isn’t solely to blame for your relationship problems. As Ariel writes, “The true problems lie in the blending of two different modes of being. It is not your partner’s fault that he doesn’t understand certain social expectations, just as it is not your fault that you don’t understand how the pipes in your house work.”

2. Learn as much as you can about AS.

If you don’t know much about AS, it’s easy to misinterpret your partner’s actions and think they don’t care about you. Educating yourself on how AS functions can be a huge help in better understanding your partner and feeling compassion toward them.

Individuals with AS don’t process information the same way everyone else does. According to Ariel, research using brain scans have shown differences between the brain structure and shape of people with AS vs. people without AS.

People with AS have a tough time picking up on nonverbal cues in interactions and understanding people’s emotions. They may misinterpret a loved one’s needs. They may fixate on their own interests and appear like they’re self-absorbed and just don’t care about others. Essentially, people with AS see and experience the world differently. But they absolutely do care and experience emotions — again, just differently.

3. Reframe your partner’s behavior.

You might think that your partner knows precisely what you need but purposely ignores it or intentionally does something to hurt you. And when you think your partner is cold and mean, you not only get upset and angry, but you also might view all of their actions and intentions negatively, Ariel says.

Reframing your partner’s behaviors helps you refocus on your relationship and work to improve it (vs. stewing in the negativity). It also might help you come up with creative solutions.

You still might disagree with their actions and feel hurt. But you may better understand your partner and work to move forward.

To help you reframe your partner’s actions, Ariel recommends creating three columns in your journal: Behavior or Situation; How it Makes Me Feel; and Another Perspective.

In the first column, describe a behavior or situation that upsets you. In the second column, record your feelings and why you think your partner acts this way. In the third column, try to think of a different explanation for their behavior.

Say you were upset recently about how your spouse handled you being sick. According to Ariel, here’s how your columns might look:

1st column: “When I was sick in bed for three days, she came in only at dinnertime. She left food without asking how I felt.”

2nd column: “This proves how self-centered she is. She didn’t care that I felt lonely and sad because of our lack of connection.”

3rd column: “She likes to be alone when she feels sick. She thinks asking people how they feel when they’re sick is dumb.”

It helps if both of you do this exercise and can discuss it.

4. Be specific about your needs.

Many of us expect our partners to automatically know what we want. Or to know what we want after the many hints we drop.

In reality, that’s rarely the case. And it’s especially not the case with AS partners. Rather than expecting your partner to naturally know what you want or hinting at it, communicate your needs as specifically and directly as possible.

This can be tricky because you might think that you’re already being very obvious. Here’s a simple example: According to Ariel, you might say, “I’m going out for a few hours. Can you please do the yard work?” To you this obviously means bagging the leaves because it’s fall and they’re everywhere. To your partner, this might mean weeding.

Instead, it’s more helpful to say: “Can you please rake the leaves and put them in the leaf bags by the curb for Friday’s pickup?”

5. Talk about how you’d like to connect with each other.

Because you and your partner experience emotions differently, having an emotional connection also can be challenging. Remember that people with AS have a difficult time understanding and identifying emotions, and they may show very little emotion or express inappropriate emotions. You also might miss displays of deep connection from your partner because you express emotions so differently.

Ariel includes the below exercise to help you and your partner articulate how you can improve your emotional connection.

  • Using index cards or slips of paper, write down what you do to help you feel more connected to your partner.
  • Next write down at least five things you’d like your partner to do.
  • Have your partner do the same and list what they do to help you feel connected and what they’d like you to do.
  • Read each other’s cards and talk about how you’d like to connect in the future.
  • Put the cards in boxes: one box for what you’d like your partner to do; another box for what they’d like you to do.
  • Try to do a few of these behaviors each week, and regularly review your lists.

Even though being in a relationship with someone with AS may add additional challenges, together, you can absolutely learn to better understand each other and improve your relationship.

You can learn more about Cindy Ariel at her website.

How to be a good friend to someone who has asperger's syndrome

Some people who are on the autism spectrum go through life without anyone noticing. They may seem a bit “strange,” or have some odd interests. For the most part, however, they blend right on in with the rest of the society. But there are also the people who display more traits of Asperger Syndrome, and these people — your friend, your coworker, your SO, your neighbor — tend to stand out a bit more.

“Typically, the defining factor in someone who has Asperger’s . is a lack of social skills,” says Nicole Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC, in an email to Bustle. “They. are brilliant, but just ‘aren’t people persons.'” To everyone else, this might look like they have a case of the awkwards, or a total lack of desire (or inability) to make eye contact.

And this is where Asperger’s often gets confused with autism. “Autism is a more debilitating disorder, with a far worse prognosis depending on severity of symptoms and intervention timing,” Dr. Michele Barton tells me via email. “Asperger’s is far less severe and has a much better prognosis. Individuals often go on to live acceptable mainstream lifestyles.”

Due to these differences, the terminology has recently changed. “Asperger’s is now grouped among other syndromes that fall on the same continuum termed Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD),” Barton explains. “Individuals formerly diagnosed with Asperger’s are now diagnosed as High Functioning ASD.” Read on to learn more about these ASD traits, so you can better understand what it looks like.

1. They’ll May Have Difficulty Reading Other People’s Emotions

If someone is on the autism spectrum, one of their defining characteristics will be a decided lack of social skills. “They struggle in this area,” Martinez says. “They have difficulty reading other people’s emotions, facial expressions, and how they should respond in emotional situations.” It can make social gatherings, or even the simplest of convos, feel kinda awkward.

2. Articulate People Are Often Their BFFs

Since reading emotions is sort of a no-go, younger people with ASD will often turn to people they can relate to verbally. As Barton says, “Social situations are hard to navigate as they are not very receptive to expressive and emotional cues. So, from a young age they enjoy the company of more verbally articulate adults or older children.”

3. They May Have A Narrow Range Of Interests

People with ASD tend to get hyper-focused on one (often very specific) hobby. “For example, I had an adult who was very into bugs,” Martinez says. And I used to babysit a little boy with ASD who was super into trains. This intense love for one area or interest can be a dead giveaway that a person is on the spectrum.

4. They Probably Don’t Have Much Tolerance For Flexibility

Nobody likes it when their plans go awry, but people with ASD will be very bothered by it. This is mostly due to their strict, inflexible, and repetitive way of doing things, according to autism expert Lisa Jo Rudy on VeryWell.com. Having to do a work project in an unexpected way, for instance, will leave them feeling overwhelmed and upset.

5. Small Talk Might Be A Struggle

Elevator rides with strangers, one-on-ones at parties, first dates — these are situations that people with ASD dread. That’s mostly because these situations involve small talk, which, according to Rudy, can be a tricky thing for those on the spectrum.

6. Change Really, Truly Sucks

In the same way people with ASD don’t like their plans messed with, they also don’t respond well to other forms of change. “They are often rigid and respond poorly to change in routine or attempts to interfere with their objects of interest,” Barton said.

7. Making Friends Is Often Not Easy

It’s not impossible for people with AS to make friends. In fact, one of my besties has ASD and they are as nice and supportive (if not more) as my other friends. But, according to Rudy, making friends is a problem that exists for many people on the spectrum.

8. Finding An SO Might Prove Difficult

“Getting a romantic partner who has that same interest, and is willing to focus on [a narrow] subject . can be difficult, “Martinez says. As is finding someone who fully understands what this whole “autism” thing is all about. As with friendships, it’s not impossible for people with ASD to snag a partner. But it can be more difficult for them.

9. Focusing Is Rarely A Problem

Those who are on the spectrum will have an impressive ability to focus on a task — sometimes for very long periods of time, according to Rudy. I’ve seen this in my friend who can play a game or listen to music for way longer than anyone else I know.

10. Conversations Can Be A Bit One-Sided

Because recognizing emotions in others is a challenge, people with ASD tend to have one-sided conversations, according to AutismSpeaks.org. It’s not that they are being rude. It’s just how their brain works.

11. Eye Contact Issues Are Common

People with ASD often struggle to make eye contact, so you might notice your friend or coworker averting his or her eyes, or looking off into the distance. They might also have some awkward movements or mannerisms, according to AutismSpeaks.org.

So, there you have it — many of the traits of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. If this lists describes you, then you might be having an eye-opening moment right now. But, at the very least, the list will be super helpful to finally understand and recognize the symptoms in someone else.

Friendship and Men with Asperger’s

Asperger’s men often desire friends but may also be considered loners. Typically they have a much lower capacity for social interaction than a neurotypical man. Here are some more interesting facts about men with Asperger’s and friendship:

  • Many men with Asperger’s fit into the stereotype of geek. They may be extremely gifted with computers and friendships often arise from a shared passion about computer gaming or programming.
  • Asperger’s men are not good at making small talk. They can focus on a subject that interests them and talk endlessly about it but they do not understand how to exchange social niceties.
  • An Asperger’s man may have a pet – often a dog – that he becomes quite attached to. The pet is a friend that does not place demands on the man and accepts him as he is. While not a substitute for human companionship, a pet can be a positive influence and a good friend.

Marriage and Men with Asperger’s

Men with Asperger’s do marry but unless both partners are willing to work on problem areas, the relationship may not last.

  • When courting a woman, an Asperger’s man may come across as quiet and reserved. In marriage, these qualities may become a point of contention as his wife becomes frustrated by his lack of communication.
  • Sexual issues may arise if men with Asperger’s have not received an appropriate sex education. In some cases, they may have learnt about sex through watching pornography. This can be extremely upsetting if they try and act out similar scenes with their wife.
  • Asperger’s men are normally more accepting of a woman’s flaws than neurotypical men. This includes things such as weight and appearance.
  • Social activity may be limited and their wives often form their own friendships and socialize while their husbands stay at home.

Facts about Employment and Men with Asperger’s

Men with Asperger’s can find employment and are generally reliable workers. However, even if they have the same qualifications as neurotypical men, they may not find a job as easily as they do. Here are some thoughts about Asperger’s men and employment:

  • These men often do well at jobs where there is one-on-one training as opposed to a classroom setting.
  • Team work may pose a problems and an Asperger’s man will function better if he is in a separate office without noise or distracting social interaction.
  • Interviews often pose a problem as the Asperger’s man has impaired social skills and may not respond appropriately or may misread the interviewer’s body language. Practising interviews can be helpful in overcoming this problem.
  • Asperger’s men often have a special interest or hobby and if they can find work in this field, they are often brilliant at what they do.
  • They are consistent workers who work well within routines.

Men with Asperger’s have a number of strengths and weaknesses and can be extremely gifted in some areas. They generally make good employees and stable marriage partners and when people understand their condition it helps them to function better in a neurotypical society.

References

The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome, Tony Attwood, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2007