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Is Asperger’s a Learning Disability?

Asperger’s syndrome is not a learning disability but people with Asperger’s may face other challenges that impact their life, such as anxiety. They may also have learning difficulties and other support needs.

A description that is often used to explain what Asperger’s is like for someone is that ‘they see, hear and feel the world differently to the way that people around them do’. Autism, which includes Asperger’s syndrome, is more common than most people are aware of. Around 1 in 100 people in the UK have been diagnosed with autism.

Autism is different for each individual but for some people, the world can be quite overwhelming, especially in certain situations. Developing relationships with other people and handling social interactions can be more challenging for people with autism.

Read more: What’s the role of a support worker for people with a learning disability

While some people prefer to not have a formal Asperger’s diagnosis, others can benefit from having more information about why they experience certain difficulties and help them to identify ways that can make their life easier to manage. The following examples are some of the common nonverbal learning disability symptoms in adults:

Communication differences

Autistic people often have verbal and nonverbal interpretation difficulties and do not pick up on social cues such as tone of voice as well as other people do. Jokes and sarcasm may not be understood because they have a very literal outlook and understanding. They may also struggle to notice facial expressions that are used in communications that others would be able to interpret the meaning of.

Social interaction differences

People with Asperger’s syndrome can find social interactions more challenging. For example, they might come across as insensitive and as not showing empathy towards others. They might behave in a way that others find to be peculiar or inappropriate. Some autistic people find it difficult to build friendships due to their social differences.

As autistic people get older, they often learn to imitate other people’s social interactions, so they do not display noticeable social differences. In some cases, autistic people will rehearse what they are going to say at a social event, as though they are preparing a script to help them to start and maintain conversations.

Routines and repetitive behaviour

Another symptom of Asperger’s is the preference to have the same daily routines and they do not like it when something unpredictable happens. For some people, doing things in the same order is important and a change to their expected routine can cause them to be anxious and uncomfortable. They may get upset when there is a change to their routine or the order of how they want to do things.

Highly focused interests

Lots of people with Asperger’s have interests that are highly focused and this will usually be noticeable from early childhood. The type of interests that they have high focus on can be anything from drawing to solving mathematical problems, or anything else that they enjoy doing.

These are some of the more common symptoms used in diagnosing Asperger’s but many people show different variations of these and some people may display some of these very mildly, while others show symptoms in more extreme ways.

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