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How "Aspergers-like" Are You?

So, you think you might have Asperger's, but you're not sure. Take this quiz to see how many Asperger's (or high-functioning autistic) traits you exhibit: 

Is it Asperger’s or Narcissism or Both?

Asperger's (AS) and High Functioning Autism (HFA) are often confused with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). The reason for this confusion is understandable since some of the symptoms found in people with AS and HFA are also found in those with NPD. Some of the similarities between AS/HFA and NPD may include the following:
  • apparent lack empathy
  • difficulty understanding others’ feelings 
  • eccentric personality 
  • harsh interpersonal communication
  • inability to view the world from the perspective of others
  • lack of demonstrated non-verbal cues and inability to pick-up on the non-verbal cues of others
  • lack of interest in others
  • lack of psychological awareness 
  • narrow range of interests and activities
  • obvious self-focus in interpersonal exchanges
  • preoccupation with their own agenda
  • problems in sustaining satisfying relationships
  • self-centeredness
  • similar eye-to-eye gaze, body stance, and facial expressions
  • tendency to react to social problems/stress with depression
  • underdeveloped conversational skills

Despite the similarities listed above, the difference between AS/HFA and NPD is vast, like night and day. Here are a few examples of the dissimilarities:

1. The Aspergerian (i.e., person with Asperger’s) wants a good and happy life – not just for himself, but for everyone. He would rather “fit-in” with his peer-group (or simply be left alone) rather than be the “boss” or the “leader” – even if he is the brightest student in the class. The Narcissist (i.e., person with NPD), however, wants a good and happy life only for himself (or the individuals he includes in his inner circle). He wants to be in control and doesn't care who he has to hurt to get control. He will do anything he can to be in charge of the people around them (without being noticed as a “control freak”).

2. The Aspergerian typically pays little attention to the body language of others – and would have great difficulty reading it even if he tried. The Narcissist pays close attention to others’ body language – looking for signs that they may be weak or vulnerable – and then seizes the opportunity to exploit them for his own gains.

3. The Aspergerian typically does not have any hidden agenda toward others. But, the Narcissist lives and breathes hidden agenda, as any good con man would.

4. The Aspergerian simply wants to be treated with normal consideration and respect, but he often receives much less respect than he deserves due to his social skills deficits, quirkiness, and lack of desire to appear “cool” in the eyes of others. On the contrary, the Narcissist typically receives way more respect than he deserves since he is great at presenting himself as the smartest, coolest person on the block. He discards and devalues others in order to make himself look better.

5. The individual with Asperger’s often appears selfish, uncaring and insensitive due to the fact that he tends to live in his “own little world,” often minding his own business to a fault. The individual with NPD often appears selfish, uncaring and insensitive BECAUSE HE IS.

6. The Aspergerian is unlikely to obey the hidden rules of conversation (e.g., unable to read or exhibit non-verbal language, may ramble on about a special interest even when the listener has stopped paying attention, may not allow others to speak in turn, interrupts the speaker on a whim, etc.). On the other hand, the Narcissist pays very close attention to the rules of conversation and is highly verbal, using language as a manipulative tool to get his ego fed.

7. The Aspergerian wants marriage, children, friends and social acceptance, but is fairly clueless about how to go about procuring these things. As a result, he may develop a fear of rejection – and even choose a solitary lifestyle. Conversely, the Narcissist has the ability to switch between social responsiveness and social disengagement. He is not interested in relationships with certain people, because he views them as unworthy or inferior. However, if he can take advantage of someone for his own gains, he will easily and immediately regain his social skills and charm.

8. Asperger’s individuals don’t exploit Narcissists. However, Narcissists do exploit people with Asperger’s. In fact, the Aspergerian is often the Narcissist favorite target!

9. The Aspergerian experiences developmental delays, whereas the Narcissist experiences personality flaws.

10. The Aspergerian is rather naïve and innocent, while the Narcissist is rather cunning and guilty.

Analogically, the individual with Asperger’s is focused on his widget of interest, how it is made, what else it can be used for, comparing and contrasting similar widgets, how to make a better widget, how the widget can be used to help others – and wants to tell others ALL about his widget. The Narcissist, on the other hand, is focused on getting viewed by others as a “widget-creator” (whether he is or not), getting credit for building the best widget and being THE expert in widget creation, and how the widget can be used to make a lot of money and further his own agenda.

In a nutshell, the Narcissist is a person who is excessively preoccupied with power, prestige and vanity – and is unable to see the destructive damage he causes as he steps over and on people to reach his selfish goals. He has exaggerated feelings of self-importance, a strong need for admiration, a huge sense of entitlement, and demonstrates grandiosity in his behavior and beliefs. Those of us who have been around individuals on the autism spectrum for any length of time know that these traits seem almost polar opposites compared to those associated with Asperger’s and High Functioning Autism.

More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

Social Scripts: Social Skills Development for Children Who Are Socially Different

"How can I teach my daughter (high functioning) to relate better to her classmates and not be so offensive. She's having difficulty gaining acceptance from her peers."

“Socially different” describes children who may not use appropriate eye contact, may not know how to open or close a conversation, may be isolated from their classmates for a variety of reasons, may have trouble with self-control, don’t seem to fit in with others in the classroom (which is easily identifiable by the other classmates), or are unable to maintain social acceptance. Such social skills deficits often characterize children on the autism spectrum. An important method for overcoming these deficits involves the use of Social Scripts.

Social Scripts are a social narrative that provides direct instruction of social situations for young people with Asperger’s (AS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA). The scripts are written by the youngster’s parent or teacher (sometimes with the help of the youngster), providing a visual cue and desired social responses. The content of the script should match the youngster’s needs and take his or her perspective into consideration.

Social Scripts can reduce the stress associated with social interactions and assist the AS or HFA youngster with understanding the perspective of others. Slang or child-specific terms in the script can help the conversational exchange appear more natural. Scripts can be used to help a youngster deal with uncertainty, introduce change in routine, teach various routines, or address a wide variety of impeding behaviors (e.g., aggression, fear, obsessions, etc.). Other examples of ideas for scripts include:
  • Being assertive without being pushy
  • Compromising and negotiating
  • Conversation starters
  • Dealing with failure or being left out
  • Dealing with peer pressure
  • Disagreeing with others
  • Giving and responding to criticism
  • Learning to participate appropriately in groups
  • Respecting someone’s personal space
  • Responses and ideas to connect conversations or change the topic
  • Settling conflicts
  • Taking charge of one’s feelings
  • Thinking about one’s behavior before, during, and after speaking
  • Using appropriate eye contact, voice, tone, expression, and posture

 ==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

Here is an example of a Social Script written for Michael, a sixth-grader with Asperger’s, for purchasing a fountain Coke at the corner gas station (which he was allowed to do several times a week):

When I go to the gas station for some pop, I will stand in line at the pop machine until the people in front of me are done getting their drinks. Then I will get my drink and go to the cashier. The cashier will say something like, “Hi, is that all for today?” I will say, “Yes.” If she asks me if I want anything else, I will say “No.” I will then hand her $2.00 and will be given some change. Then I will say, “Thank you.” 

Daily observations and reports from others who interact with the AS or HFA child can help determine the skills that need to be practiced. Basic social skills are a good place to start. For example, respecting personal space, greeting someone, making eye contact, using active listening, and starting/ending a conversation should be part of every scripting lesson.

Skills should be applicable to the child’s needs, daily experiences, and interests in order to help maintain his motivation. Blending humor into the scripts or using silly names for the characters can help maintain motivation as well. In addition, scripts need to match the child’s life experiences at home, at school, and in his community.

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

Social Scripts can be used in groups as well (e.g., special education class). Once the “special needs” children are comfortable with practicing the scripts, short field trips can provide opportunities to practice and enhance newly learned skills. Peer-assistance is often helpful to the social skills class or target group.

Due to the fact that socially challenged kids tend to associate with other socially challenged kids, peer-assistance is highly beneficial because the assistant can model social situations appropriately and help children with social skills deficits acquaint themselves with people outside their usual circle of peers/friends.

Social Scripts may not be appropriate in all situations, because there is a risk of making the AS or HFA child sound too “rehearsed” or “scripted” in her response. Since children on the autism spectrum struggle with generalization of skills, they may try to use one particular script at the wrong time. For example, Michael learned how to purchase his fountain Coke at the gas station through scripted communication. However, when he ordered a Coke at a fast food restaurant, he became agitated when asked additional questions about the order, such as “Do you want a meal with that?” and “Do you want a regular Coke – or diet?”

When parents and teachers utilize Social Scripts, these prompts should be systematically faded out fairly quickly. Otherwise, the AS or HFA child may continue to spontaneously communicate with friends and classmates using scripted phrases. Visual prompts (click on the picture at the top of this article for an example) have the potential to be more effective than verbal prompts given by a parent or teacher because they are much easier to fade out.

Using Social Scripts as a prompting procedure to teach kids on the spectrum to engage in more complex play, initiate and maintain conversations with others, and participate in a variety of community activities can be effective in the short and long term. The key to using scripts is to fade them out so the child does not become dependent on the prompt.

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Children on the Spectrum

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Teens on the Spectrum

Although Aspergers [high-functioning autism] is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager on the spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

Click here to read the full article…

Older Teens and Young Adult Children with ASD Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with ASD face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

Click here to read the full article…

Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

Click here
to read the full article...

Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

Click here for the full article...