Asperger’s syndrome is now defined as a part of one of the autism spectrum disorders. It is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others.
It seems that the brains of people with Asperger’s syndrome do not deal with information in the same way as the brains of others do.
People with Asperger’s syndrome often have average or above average intelligence, and can be quite creative, but they often find life hard. In particular, they find it hard to communicate and interact with other people.
For example, people with Asperger’s syndrome often:
- struggle to express themselves
- find it hard to understand others
- find it hard to make friends
- find it hard to work out what others might be thinking
- find it hard to use their imagination.
Asperger’s syndrome is usually diagnosed in childhood, but some people don’t recognise the condition until they are adults.
It’s not clear what causes Asperger’s syndrome. It’s likely that genes play a part, although it's unclear whether the condition is influenced by upbringing or social circumstances. There is no evidence to suggest that vaccines cause Asperger’s syndrome.
A diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome can help an adult or child and their carers understand their feelings and behaviour. It can also assist in getting help and support.
With support and encouragement, people with Asperger’s can lead a full and independent life.
Last reviewed: November 2016