Children with Asperger's usually have a typical early development. Many children with Asperger's Disorder have normal or above-normal intelligence. Although there is no one description that will fit all children with Asperger's, perhaps the most salient features relate to their tendency to have sophisticated knowledge or passion for a narrowly defined range of interests while being socially inept.

Swedish physician Christopher Gillberg categorizes the features of Asperger's into six main domains of impairment:

--Social impairment with extreme egocentricity, which may include:

  • Inability to interact with peers
  • Lack of desire to interact with peers
  • Poor appreciation of social cues
  • Socially and emotionally inappropriate responses

--Limited interests and preoccupations, including:

  • More rote than meaning
  • Relatively exclusive of other interests
  • Repetitive adherence

--Repetitive routines or rituals, that may be:

  • Imposed on self, or
  • Imposed on others

--Speech and language peculiarities, such as:

  • Superficially perfect expressive language
  • Odd prosody, peculiar voice characteristics

--Impaired comprehension including misinterpretation of literal and implied meanings.

--Nonverbal communication problems, such as:

  • Limited use of gesture
  • Clumsy body language
  • Limited or inappropriate facial expression
  • Peculiar "stiff" gaze
  • Difficulty adjusting physical proximity

--Motor clumsiness -- may not be present in all cases.



Students with Asperger's who have an intense interest in one area may be so preoccupied with it that they do not seem available for instruction in other areas.

They may be very concrete thinkers or very literal. If you tend to use a lot expressions or jargon, they may not understand what you mean.

Students with Asperger's may exhibit behaviors that look compulsive, stereotypic, or repetitive.

They may exhibit the kinds of organizational deficits discussed in the Executive Dysfunction section, and may have significant difficulty making transitions and learning from their mistakes or past experiences.

They may have sensory issues (see the Sensory Integration section).

They may have difficulties with the rules of conversation.

Students with Asperger's often demonstrate relative weaknesses in comprehension and abstract thought (as well as in social cognition).


Myles, B. S., Adreon, D. (2001). Asperger Syndrome and Adolescence: Practical Solutions for School Success. Autism Asperger Pub Co.

Cumine V, Leach J, et al. (1998). Asperger Syndrome: A Practical Guide for Teachers (Resource Materials for Teachers). David Fulton Pub.

Moyes RA, Moreno SJ: Incorporating Social Goals in the Classroom: A Guide for Teachers and Parents of Children with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger Syndrome. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Myles BS, Southwick J. (1999). Asperger Syndrome and Difficult Moments: Practical Solutions for Tantrums, Rage, and Meltdowns. Autism Asperger Pub. Co.

Simpson RL, Myles BS. (1997). Asperger Syndrome: A Guide for Educators and Parents. Pro-Ed.



Use a lot of visual cues and visual organizers.

As much as possible, try to stick to a structured routine. Wherever possible prepare the student for potential changes or transitions.

Provide clear expectations and rules for behavior.

Use direct instruction to explicitly teach rules of social conduct.

Foster social skills by direct instruction and teach the student how to interact through social stories, modeling and role-playing.

Establish limits on perseverative discussions and/or questioning.

Build on the student's area of interest to expand it to other activities and assignments.

Allow extra time for handwritten work; explore use of word processor.

Avoid situations that might produce "sensory overload" for the student.

Pause between instructions on multi-step tasks and check for comprehension.

Provide instruction and support for understanding and managing emotions (the student's and othes').

Encourage the understanding of the perspectives and thoughts of others.


OASIS (Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support)

Some humor on Asperger's. Reading it may give you a somewhat different perspective on the Asperger's experience


Although the topic of NVLD is not covered on this site, teachers may find the following resource helpful:

Duke MP, Martin EA, Nowicki S. (1996). Teaching Your Child the Language of Social Success. Peachtree, 1996.

Nowicki S, Duke MP (1992). Helping the Child Who Doesn't Fit In.


© Copyright 2002. All rights reserved, Leslie E. Packer, Ph.D. This page last updated April 5, 2002. Disclaimer: All information is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice for any specific student or child. Problems with this site? Contact: Webmaster