The Secrets of Self Disclosure

It was my first job after college.  I joined my co-workers for lunch. After some opening small talk, somehow it came up that I went to Wheaton College, and Trinity International University (at that time, known as Trinity Evangelical Divinity School). Suddenly, everyone became very quiet. “Sorry about all the swearing I was doing earlier!”  […]

self advocacy

Science Finds Effective Adult Aspergers Treatments?

Problems are only opportunities in work clothes.  ~Henry J. Kaiser, American industrialist, father of modern American shipbuilding. Asperger’s Disorder was added to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in 1994 as a separate condition from autism. Given that 20 years have elapsed since that date, there are many adults with high functioning autism […]

aspergers in adults research

Aspergers in Adults

Aspergers in Adults

There’s a growing trend.  Autism and Aspergers have become more widely known and accepted in both medical and cultural circles.  Growing attention has championed the need for early intervention for children with Aspergers. Those children are growing up, and after age 21, no longer have the extensive web of educational and support services given them in high school.  Even more important, there are generations of adults with Aspergers who were never diagnosed, or who were diagnosed later in life.  They haven’t received the extensive early intervention services many of today’s young people with Aspergers received in early childhood through young adulthood.

aspergers in adults

What Does Aspergers in Adults Look Like?

Aspergers Strengths

Adults with Aspergers have a host of strengths that balance out the challenges they face.  often have higher than average intelligence and a wonderful sense of humor. They tell the truth, and have an uncanny ability to focus on areas of interest. The positive characteristics of Aspergers children continue into adulthood. Here’s a list of 50 positive Aspergers characteristics.  Here’s another article I wrote about the strengths of the autism spectrum.

Aspergers Challenges

Aspergers, like autism, is a spectrum.  In other words, one adult may struggle a lot more with organizing and executing tasks, while another may do well with organizing, but struggle with understanding and relating to other people. In general, based on Dr. Valerie Gaus’ framework, an Aspergers person struggles with core processing deficits.  In other words, she may struggle with understanding the inputs that come in to the brain through the environment.

  1. An Aspergers person may struggle with processing information about others.  The Aspergers adult is, contrary to many opinions, highly empathetic, but struggles with knowing exactly what the other person is thinking or feeling.  It’s hard to understand and process social cues, or to understand non-verbal body language and facial expressions.
  2. An Aspergers person may also struggle with processing information about himself.  Information about self includes understanding and regulating emotions and sensory inputs.
  3. Finally, an Aspergers person may struggle with processing nonsocial information, as evidenced by challenges with executive functioning (flexibility, planning, organization, goal setting, and the use of working memory).  While an Aspergers person can sense a myriad of details, she may struggle to filter all that into a big picture to make effective decisions of what to do with the data. Aspergers in adults, as seen in the above Aspergers signs and symptoms, leads to the following.

Social Skill Deficits result from difficulty reading social situations and cues; understanding one’s own feeling states; and challenges with picking up social learning at different points of childhood.

  1. Sensory challenges and social blindness challenge adults with Aspergers, because they often don’t know how to respond to others, nor do they know what’s expected of them.
  2. Odd mannerisms, difficulty understanding and expressing social language, and “rude” behavior [although never intentional, because they don’t know they’re being rude] can lead others to become frustrated and angry, leading to negative social consequences.  Imagine being ignored, bullied, and rejected, without ever knowing why!  Yet it happens every day across the world.
  3. Executive functioning difficulties, combined with difficulty understanding oneself, can cause problems in self-management and activities of daily living.    These can manifest as inefficient task management, procrastination, poor self-direction, and poor problem basic problem-solving.  The Aspergers adult may have a genius level IQ, yet still struggle with these different aspects of living.  The daily living consequences and frequent daily hassles add up to a lot of stressful events. Source: Aspergers Adult Signs and Symptoms Explained

Adult Aspergers Statistics

According to this Aspergers syndrome fact sheet, “no studies have yet been conducted to find the incidence of Asperger syndrome in adult populations.”  On the one hand, many Aspergers people succeed very well vocationally and relationally; however, many adults with Aspergers struggle with relationships and careers.  The answer is somewhere between: adults with Aspergers may succeed in a few areas, but struggle in others.  You can read some of my articles about famous people with Aspergers to better understand this.

Dating, Relationships, and Marriage

Dating, friendships, and marriage all hinge on social communication.  As noted above, social communication can be challenging for people with Aspergers.  This challenge means both partners need to work on better understanding each other.  If one partner has Aspergers and the other does not, the Aspergers partner may need to work on better understanding the neurotypical way of thinking, and the neurotypical needs to respect, understand, and honor the Aspergers way of thinking.  Compromise and compassion are the hallmarks of successful relationships and friendships, married or not.

Aspergers in Adults: Aspergers Help

Here are some hyperlinks to articles on this blog to help promote hope, understanding, and solutions for each of these areas. Aspergers and Work Dating and Aspergers Aspergers and Marriage. I also wrote this post on Psychology Today, called What Everybody Should Know About Aspergers and Marriage.   A few Aspergers people have criticized the article for seeming to put more blame on the Aspergers partner versus the NT partner.  So I wrote a another article, called Free Marriage Advice From Aspergers Adults. 

Aspergers Help

Here are some hyperlinks to articles on my blog to help you with topics of diagnosis, Aspergers support groups, and books to read. Diagnosis Aspergers Support Groups Aspergers Books

Aspergers in Women

Rudy Simone’s site. Tania Marshall’s site. Here’s a link to my article, Girls and Autism: Empowered.

Helpful Videos Regarding Aspergers in Adults

  1. This Emotional Life: Loneliness and Aspergers
  2. SubTypes of Aspergers in Adults
  3. Adults With Aspergers Describe Some of Their Challenges Adult Female Aspergers Traits

Image credit: wavebreakmediamicro / 123RF Stock Photo

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Social Thinking : Behavior, Thoughts, and Emotions

listen to ‘Social Thinking: Expected and Unexpected Behaviors’ on Audioboo The important thing to remember is this: whenever you are around another person or several people, they are having thoughts about you.  You can’t stop them from doing this; it’s just how it goes.  Yet it’s easy to forget that even when you’re minding your […]

Spotting Lies for Aspergers in Adults Communication

‘People–friends, family members, work colleagues, salespeople–lie to us all the time. Daily, hourly, constantly. None of us is immune, and all of us are victims. According to studies by several different researchers, most of us encounter nearly 200 lies a day.’ Amazon Book Review, Liespotting: Proven Techniques to Detect Deception There’s much more to it [deception, […]