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Asperger’s Syndrome

What is Asperger syndrome?

Asperger syndrome is a form of autism and is used to describe people at the higher functioning end of the autism spectrum. It is a life-long condition and is more commonly diagnosed in males than females.

What are the characteristics of Asperger syndrome?

Asperger syndrome shares many of the same characteristics as autism, such as the triad of impairments, but people with Asperger syndrome usually have fewer problems with language, often speaking fluently. People with Asperger syndrome are less likely to have learning disabilities that are associated with autism and may have average or above average intelligence. There are some differences within the triad of impairments from ‘classic’ autism.

Social interaction – In contrast to people with ‘classic’ autism, people with Asperger syndrome may not appear to be withdrawn and uninterested in the world around them. They still, however, have difficulties understanding non-verbal signals such as facial expressions, which makes starting and keeping relationships difficult.

Social communication – They usually have good language skills but may not be able to interact with the person they are talking to, i.e. they may not take notice of the reaction of the person listening and talk on regardless of the listener’s interest. They may also have problems understanding descriptions, explanations and jokes. They may use language in an over precise, over literal manner.

Social imagination – Whilst they are very good at learning facts and figures, people with Asperger syndrome find it hard to think in abstract ways. People with Asperger syndrome often develop an almost obsessive interest in a hobby or collecting such as remembering train timetables or the size and scope of a cathedral. They need routine and find change upsetting. Changes in routine can make a person with Asperger syndrome upset and anxious.

Are there any treatments or therapies for autism? – There is no ‘cure’ for autism as it is a lifelong developmental disability. Specialist education and appropriate support can make a difference to the life of a person with autism.

Principles of Support

The Government’s vision for transforming the lives of and outcomes for adults with autism is: “All adults with autism are able to live fulfilling and rewarding lives within a society that accepts and understands them. They can get a diagnosis and access support if they need it, and they can depend on mainstream public services to treat them fairly as individuals, helping them make the most of their talents.”

For adults with autism, this means:

  • Having a right to receive an assessment of need from social services,
  • Getting the same opportunities for education and further education as everyone else,
  • Being supported to get a job and stay in work,
  • Being able to choose where to live – just like anyone else,
  • Having relationships and social networks,
  • Having their health needs properly met in a way which is appropriate for someone with autism,
  • Being safe from hate crime and discrimination,
  • Living in a society where people understand, respect and accommodate difference, and,
  • Receiving support to live independently, as appropriate.

‘Fulfilling and rewarding lives’, The strategy for adults with autism in England (2010)

The Support provided through Potens

Person Centred & Outcome Focused Approach – Support is focused around the needs and wishes of each individual, working towards independence & enabling self direction through collaboration with family, carers and keyworkers in achievement of individual goals and aspirations.

Health – Physical & mental health needs are continually assessed to ensure the best health & wellbeing for the people we support. As far as is practicably possible, Service Users are supported to manage their own healthcare needs through an individual health action plan.

Risk Management – Positive risk management recognises and builds on an individual’s strengths through the development of personal support plans and risk assessments that support and encourage potential through reasonable risk taking.

Behaviour that challenges & POTENS Behaviour Support & Therapy Team – POTENS BST team work closely with POTENS services offering advice, guidance and training around any individuals with behaviour that challenges. The team is made up of a Behavioural Psychotherapist and a Behavioural Therapist with specialist skills around behavioural issues and autistic spectrum disorder including Aspergers Syndrome.

All behaviour is a form of communication that tells us how the person we support is feeling or what they are thinking. The team support people to develop alternative ways to communicate their needs.

The BST team are registered members of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and The British Association of Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP).

POTENS offers a range of services for people with Aspergers Syndrome, please see our Locations page for information about services in your area, or please contact us to find out more or to make a referral.

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