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What is Asperger Syndrome (AS)?

Asperger Syndrome (AS) is a mild form of autism, named after the Austrian paediatrician Hans Asperger. It is more common in males than females and is believed to be due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.  Autism is thought of today as a spectrum disorder with people with AS having less pronounced difficulties than people with classic autism and intellectual abilities in the normal to above-normal range.


What does it mean to have Asperger Syndrome?

The characteristics of autism fall into three main categories:

  • Communication
  • Social interaction
  • Ways of thinking


Characteristics of AS may include:

Skills and Abilities
Difficulties
Unique way of thinking and processing information
Flexibility/seeing the big picture
Extensive knowledge in a particular field
Interpreting non-verbal communication or vague/unclear speech
High concentration levels
Expressing thoughts and feelings
Perfectionism/eye for detail
Socialising/making friends/social etiquette
Logical way of thinking/objectivity
Asking for help
Preference for routine
Managing time
Conscientiousness/reliability
Adapting to new situations
Loyalty/honesty


 


Sensory issues
People with AS may be over- or undersensitive to certain stimuli in any of the sensory areas (noise, touch, taste, smell, sight, balance and proprioception – sense of body position and movement). Consequences of this may include, amongst other things:

  • Difficulty hearing certain sounds or not being able to filter out background noise
  • Handling people/things roughly or finding certain clothing uncomfortable
  • Preference for spicy foods or the same type of food
  • Difficulty perceiving certain smells or finding certain smells overbearing
  • Difficulty seeing certain objects or finding certain lighting painful
  • Awkward or uncoordinated body movements, poor posture
  • Standing too close to people or bumping into objects
  • Poor motor skills


 
Strategies / Workplace Adjustments
Providing the right kind of support can not only help an employee with AS to be successful in a professional environment but the employer can also profit from the unique skills and abilities that the employee may bring to the workplace.  Strategies that could be implemented include:

Recruitment Process

  • Accompaniment during the interview
  • One-to-one interview discussions
  • Asking closed questions


Workplace

  • Providing clear and precise instructions
  • Avoiding non-verbal communication or unclear/ambiguous speech
  • Keeping things simple/no multi-tasking
  • Providing a workplace buddy
  • Educating the team
  • Adapting the job description
  • Focusing on the person’s strengths/what works well
  • Avoiding micro-management; focusing on the result


Sensory Issues

  • Providing a stable and quiet work place
  • Allowing the use of earplugs, sunglasses or alternative clothing
  • Allowing for breaks/time out


 

Further details
For more information, contact kim@aspergersatwork.ch, or visit www.aspergersatwork.ch

IMPRESSUM

Aspergers at Work GmbH

Im Hinterstück 12

4107 Ettingen

+41 79 825 78 94

kim@aspergersatwork.ch

Factsheet


What you need to know when employing someone with Asperger Syndrome