A child or adolescent with Asperger’s Syndrome (now known as Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Level 1) often struggles with social relationships. That is, they want to have friendships, but don’t understand how to build them. We find that they don’t understand the gray area of friendships where peers make sarcastic remarks, or are facetious. Because they can be black and white, concrete thinkers, they may struggle as to why a group of peers are joking or playing around instead of focusing and playing their instruments in Band class. They want to ‘supervise’ or ‘lead’ the group, but they are not understanding the social cues that are being sent their way to ‘child out’ or ‘stop’ because they want to have a good time.
This often leaves our children with Asperger’s Syndrome feeling lonely and confused, unwelcome and not sure why. They are not invited to birthday parties, play dates, or invited to ‘hang out’ as they get older. They tend to also have isolated areas of interest (e.g., video games) but struggle to relate to their peers on much else other than that. They also perceive their virtual friends as real friends, which can make video games that much more reinforcing.
Click here to read this article, “Asperger’s Syndrome: Problems Interpreting the Social and Emotional World” where it debunks myths that these children are dangerous, racist, not empathic or sympathetic.