Don't we all display Asperger's Syndrome common signs?

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Answered by: Jennifer, An Expert in the Asperger's Syndrome Category
With Asperger Syndrome being referred to as a hidden disability, and one that covers such a large number of symptoms that the majority of us experience on a day-to-day basis, could it be possible that we may all have Asperger's within ourselves but deal with according to a scale of how it affects us? Let's delve further into some of the Asperger's Syndrome common signs.

He/she may avoid eye contact or struggle to socialise.

Well yes, these are common traits but they do not necessarily apply to everyone diagnosed and likewise there are many people who avoid eye contact and social situations because they are shy or naturally uncomfortable doing so. Some people are brought up to 'keep themselves to themselves' or have lived a sheltered life whereby socialising is not deemed the norm so it is a taught behaviour. This symptom alone is not enough to assume someone has or hasn't got Asperger's.

So we add another sign - a dislike to a change in routine.

Again, another common trait and a particularly noticeable one if it affects the person to such an extent they become visibly distressed at the slightest change. But a change in routine is also recognised as a factor for increasing stress in someone without Asperger's. If you do a stress test, there will typically be questions relating to recent change and sometimes even change that appears trivial is enough to knock you off balance, particularly if you are prone to stress. Not everyone thrives on change and not everyone thrives on routine. We are all different, after all!

May read into a comment literally.

Children in particular are literal thinkers. Learning how to read jokes or understand comments comes with time - and practise. Extreme literal thinking is another sign of Asperger Syndrome but then not everyone, with or without the condition, can 'take a joke.' What was meant to be an honest opinion or throwaway comment, could be a misinterpreted by the literal thinker and even cause ill-feeling if they feel threatened or insulted with your unintentional remark. There are many people you may act cautiously towards for fear of upsetting them.

May obsess over one particular subject or item, leaving a restriction in other interests.

If you've ever met someone with Asperger's, you will note that the obsessions can be overwhelming at times. Dare you mention their favourite topic or interest, you could be forgiven for wondering if you are in the company of a walking encyclopaedia. But this of course is on the extreme end of the scale. Many people with Asperger's have a broad range of interests and many undiagnosed people have one or two. You may know someone who eats, breathes and sleeps their job - aptly called a workaholic - or has a deep passion for cars or music. Have you ever thought of someone as being a little strange because of their over-the-top passion for something? Does this mean they are on the Autistic Spectrum? The same question keeps being asked but remains unanswered.

With the signs and symptoms mentioned, (there are so many more but these are typically the most common), you may be reading this and questioning yourself!

"Hang on, I prefer libraries to night clubs"

"I hate it when they change the supermarket shelves around"

"Perhaps my exaggerated knowledge and vast collection of Stars Wars figures is a little odd..."

"Could I have Asperger's?"

The truth is maybe yes, maybe no. Diagnosing someone who displays the common signs of Asperger's Syndrome is more likely if that person is finding life difficult because their traits get in way of functioning day-to-day. For others, their quirkiness is a way of life and they muddle through this often confusing life, unscathed and unaware. You may occasionally question yourself and wonder why you don't think or act like others but conclude that's just how you are. Either way, maybe, just maybe, we all have a little Asperger's inside us.

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