What is Aspergers Syndrome/HFA?
Aspergers Syndrome is a form of autism. People with AS are usually above average to higher intelligence, but they have very similar social, communication and imagination difficulties as people with autism. Over more recent years, this is more often referred to as High Functioning Autism (HFA).
People with HFA do not usually have the accompanying learning disabilities associated with autism, but they may have specific learning difficulties. These may include dyslexia and dyspraxia or other conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and epilepsy.
People with AS/HFA usually have little problem with speaking and can express themselves clearly and have an extensive vocabulary. In some cases they may sound formal, stilted or over-precise.
Some people with HFA have problems starting and ending a conversation or choosing what topics to talk about.
They may appear very articulate and use complex phrases or words but may not fully understand their meaning.
Some may seem aloof, arrogant or uninterested in other people or seem to behave in an inappropriate manner. This is due to their inability to deal with social situations and social interaction.
Some people with High Functioning Autism may struggle to make and maintain friendships.
They can have difficulty understand the unwritten 'social rules' that most of us pick up without even thinking e.g. they may stand too close to another person, or start an inappropriate topic of conversation.
To try and make sense of the world some people with AS/HFA may need rules, rituals and boundaries. For example, if there is sudden change to their day to day routine they may become upset or anxious.
Life can be especially difficult for someone with High Functioning Autism as they aspire to do the same things as their peers, such as gaining paid employment and socialising. But due to their disability this can be extremely difficult for some and may lead to low self esteem, feelings of failure, stress, and in some cases depression.