Asperger Syndrome and Friends

The depth of relationships is deepened during the school years for most children. In school they make friends with other children their own age and learn how to behave in a socialized way. During this time of their life most children will learn how to make stay friends with their peers and interact properly. However sometimes this is not the case for those children with Asperger. Even though they are verbally fluent they lack subtle skills they need in order to make friends:

Impairment in Social Interaction

Their need to play together with their peers is less then average. The awareness they have of others in their environment is also limited. They simply are much less aware of the people around them. They interact less with others and can be perfectly happy being alone. So in order for those with Aspergers to play together they have to first notice the other children and more important: take into consideration how others are feeling and thinking.

Impairment in Social Imagination

For children with Asperger Syndrome to make any sense of the behavior of others it requires insight in other children’s thoughts and feelings. This makes it possible to anticipate the responses of others. This is a skill that does not come natural to children with Aspergers due to their inability to be empathic. They do not notice that they are doing the wrong thing or making painful remarks until after their peers will get upset or angry with them. To make friends is a true challenge without empathy.

Impairment in Communication

For some children with Aspergers the different aspects of language do not come easily at all. They have poor communication skills. They seem unaware that language has several layers or double meanings to it. They are not able to understand figure of speech or pick up on any signs of sarcasm or humor in language. Individuals with Asperger syndrome will take things literally. This can lead to lots of unfortunate misunderstandings in verbal as well as non-verbal communication. They lack skills such as being able to read others' body language, start or maintain a conversation, and take turns talking.

Impairment in Flexible Thinking

The play of a child with Asperger is repetitive. They enjoy rituals and can prefer to do the same thing over and over again. They love sameness and are troubled by changes or unexpected things happening. When you interact socially with peers there is a lot of things going on that are unexpected since you are unable to control the behavior of the other children. For children with Asperger the inability to be flexible and handle changes makes it very hard to interact with others on a social level.

Impairment in Imaginative Play

Imaginative play is used by children to learn and understand social skills from pretending they own a shop or playing house. Most children have a natural interest in how to use social skills in different social situations and love to pretend. Children with Aspergers are more focused on reality and will keep seeing a branch when others pretend to have a sword. Their inability to join imaginative play makes it extremely difficult to make friends or to interact with others socially.

After their early childhood most individuals with Asperger Syndrome are interested in making friends but their attempts to start friendships or maintain friendships are usually unsuccessful. Their lack of social skills prevents them most of the time from having true friends. Individuals with Aspergers must learn these social skills intellectually rather then intuitively.

Programmes in which they learn these skills can be very successful, specially when started from a young age. I have seen some amazing results in their behavior. However most people with Asperger enjoy being alone. They lack the need to socialize most of the time. Because interacting socially causes so much stress and anxiety they prefer to be alone.

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