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Asperger Syndrome

Individuals with Asperger Syndrome have been reported to have difficulty with tasks which require an understanding and appreciation of the feelings, thoughts, needs, and intentions of others, how their behavior impacts others, and the meaning of reciprocity in relationships (Baron-Cohen, Leslie, & Frith, 1985). From about the age of four, typically developing children understand that other people have thoughts, knowledge, beliefs, and desires that influence and explain their behavior. Conversely, children with have difficulty conceptualizing and appreciating the thoughts and feelings of another person. This deficit has a major impact on the child's social reasoning skills and behavior. For example, they may struggle to determine whether someone's thoughts or actions are intentional or accidental (Attwood, 2000).

Individuals with may find themselves socially isolated, although they are not usually withdrawn in the presence of other people. They may approach others in an inappropriate or eccentric fashion, initiating long-winded and pedantic conversations about their favorite topics (i.e., trains, math, dinosaurs, etc.) with little regard for the other person's interest. They are unable to move past these awkward approaches and may appear insensitive to others' feelings, intentions, and nonverbal communication. They may be able to describe correctly, in a cognitive and formal fashion, other people's (or their own) emotions; however, they are unable to act on this knowledge in an intuitive and spontaneous manner (Klin & Volmar, 2003).