Living with Asperger syndrome

The following is an overview of the key characteristics or situations that may be different or difficult for someone with Asperger syndrome.

Forming Relationships

  • Most people with Asperger syndrome want to be sociable and enjoy human contact. However, they can find it hard to understand non-verbal signals, including facial expressions, tone of voice and body language. This makes it more difficult for them to form and maintain social relationships with people who are unaware of their difficulties.
  • These problems arise from a lack of intuitive ability to understand the unwritten and ever changing rules that govern social behaviour.
  • People with Asperger syndrome may learn some of these rules and appear to interact quite well with others at time, but the conscious effort of keeping to the correct rules will often leave them exhausted.


  • People with Asperger syndrome may speak fluently, though their words can sometimes sound formal or stilted, and they may struggle to notice the reaction of people listening to them.
  • They may talk on regardless of the listener’s interest, or they may appear insensitive to the feelings of others.
  • A significant language delay is rare. However good verbal skills may mask their comprehension difficulties, including a very literal interpretation of language or not comprehending non-verbal signals such as body language and facial expressions.

Flexible thinking

  • While they may often excel at memorising fact in a specific subject, people with Asperger syndrome find it hard to think in abstract ways. This can cause problems for children in school where they may have difficulty with certain subjects, such as fictional literature, poetry, or religious studies.
  • They may also have difficulty thinking around problems and predicting what might happen next in subjects such as science.
  • In adulthood, difficulties may be experienced where situations arise for the first time. (e.g. paying a bill, applying for work or benefits.)

Special Interests

  • People with Asperger syndrome often have a narrow range of interests. Usually their obsessive interest involves arranging or memorising facts so that they excel in a special subject, such as timetables, dinosaurs, or fictional characters. This in-depth knowledge or a particular subject can sometimes be used positively to excel in a particular field of employment.

To find out more about the services we offer for those living with Asperger syndrome and their families such as residential care and support groups, and their families, please head to our what we do page.

Further information

Symptoms of Asperger syndrome

How to help a person with Asperger syndrome