Definition and origin of the term

Asperger's syndrome (AS), or Asperger syndrome, or Asperger disorder, or simply Aspergers (/ˈɑspərɡərz/ or /ˈæspərɡərz/) is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  Aspergers in adults and children is characterized by difficulties in communication and social interaction as well as restricted and repetitive behavior patterns and interests.

Asperger's Syndrome (named after the Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger) was first identified in the 1940s, but became widely understood and diagnosed in the English-speaking world not long time ago.  It is now estimated that one in 100-200 people, most of them male, may suffer from either autism or Asperger's Syndrome.

Asperger's Syndrome in adults

Aspergers in adults
Autism spectrum disorders are a lifelong condition.  Among adult ASD population majority belongs to Asperger's Syndrome (Fig. 1).  Teenagers with Aspergers getting to 18 wonder what next.  There is evidence that Aspergers teenagers may see a lessening of symptoms in adulthood; up to 20% of children may no longer meet the diagnostic criteria as adults, while communication difficulties may still persist.  Despite their outward appearance and intelligence they need support across many aspects of their lives.

Independent adults with ASD
Since Aspergers in adults can stabilize over time, it provides an opportunity to cope with everyday life and improve social skills and behavior.  In fact, most adults with Aspergers marry (Table 1), have children and lead a fulfilling personal and professional life.  As an example, ASD has not prevented Vernon L. Smith and Paul Dirac from major accomplishments such as winning the Nobel Prize.

Working with autism spectrum disorders

The hardest period for teenagers with Aspergers Syndrome is the period of early adulthood, especially entering the world of university or work.  While many people with ASD may have high IQs and be technically and logically extremely proficient, Aspergers in adults does result in inability to relate to other people.  In some careers, this may not matter.  But in other professions, the syndrome can be a massive problem.  As a suggestion, careers that rely on short memory should be avoided, e.g.: cashier, waitress, taxi dispatcher, air traffic controller, receptionist etc.

Please use the included resources to find more information about Aspergers in adults and Asperger's Syndrome screening, testing, diagnosis, therapies, prognosis etc.