Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers ideas for maintaining your mental health.

Asperger's Syndrome in My Experience

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Dec 17, 2012 7:34 PM

I have worked with dozens of children and young to middle-aged men with Asperger's Syndrome over the past several decades. No girls or young women. Is it sex-linked or do we identify shy, withdrawn, aloof guys with empathy problems but not girls or women with those issues as emotionally needy? Anyway, none of them showed the least bit of violent tendency. At worst, they expressed frustration over technology problems and disorganization in their lives.

When people didn't understand them or even rejected them, they detached even more. If married and working with me, they worked very hard to understand what it would feel like to be unrecognized emotionally by the spouse, so they could make at least superficial changes. When emotional sensitivity doesn't come naturally, people learn to dissect the components of sensitive behavior, like eye contact, smiling, a sad expression, and a hug and "fake it," until the actions lead to results and the whole sequence starts to become more natural. Learning to "relate" can grow on these older guys, like it does with little children who learn by modeling and reinforcement more easily.

My point is that the Asperger's Syndrome and violence don't really go together, so when someone so identified acts out violently, it's probably in spite of their condition, not because of it.

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