Asperger’s syndrome is a mental disorder that is associated with the autism spectrum. It is a developmental disorder. Follow this article to know more about what is asperger’s syndrome and what are some of the famous people with asperger’s syndrome.
Asperger’s syndrome is considered as a part of autism. It is a high functioning mental illness. According to research, asperger’s syndrome is more common in boys than in girls. A person suffering from asperger’s syndrome is most likely to become obsessed with one thing. Their brain will work differently than others. A person who is going through asperger’s syndrome is most likely to not understand humor or sarcasm.
People with Asperger’s syndrome will prefer isolation. They will have a hard time during a social gathering. They will become obsessed with a particular thing and won’t talk about anything other than that. They will have unfortunate luck when forming a relationship. They are not comfortable with eye contact. They will have a hard time understanding a person’s facial expressions or their body language.
Follow this article to explore more about what is Asperger’s syndrome and what are some of the famous people with asperger’s syndrome.
Table of Contents
What is Asperger’s syndrome?
Asperger’s syndrome is known as the developmental disorder which is associated with autism. It is a mental illness where a person becomes obsessed with one particular thing, they will keep on talking about it for hours. A person who is suffering from asperger’s syndrome will come across as anti-social. They will have a hard time adjusting in a social gathering and they will avoid eye contact with other people.
A person who is suffering from asperger’s syndrome will have a hard time understanding sarcasm and humor. They won’t know the meaning behind some words. So they will isolate themselves. Asperger’s syndrome is more common in boys than girls. No study has shown why boys have more ratios than girls. People who are going through asperger’s syndrome won’t completely cut off from the world but they will have a hard time adjusting and socializing.
When a person is going through asperger’s syndrome their interests might come across as obsessive. When they really like something, they can spend hours talking about that thing. They will enjoy short term activities. A person who has asperger’s syndrome will have a hard time recognizing other people’s facial expressions and their body language. They will avoid eye contact with everyone, especially strangers.
Surely there are treatments for asperger’s syndrome. Talking therapy is one of the most successful therapy options for a person who is suffering from asperger’s syndrome. If a child is suffering from asperger’s syndrome then speech therapy is the best option. Parents will be able to diagnose the syndrome in their children by noticing their small habits. If your child easily becomes obsessive over something or if they are not as social as any normal kid then, you must consult a healthcare professional.
What are the symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome?
Asperger’s syndrome has many symptoms but researchers have divided them into two groups. Behavioral symptoms and communication symptoms. Following are the symptoms of asperger’s syndrome in both the categories.
- Behavioral symptoms:
- Repetitive behavior
- Emotional issues
- Exaggerated response
- Abnormal response to stimuli
- Hard time in understanding behavior
- Communication symptoms:
- Social difficulties
- Speech problem
- Lack of eye contact
- Below average non verbal skills
Researchers have briefly explained the behavioral symptoms of asperger’s symptoms. These symptoms will tell if a person has asperger’s syndrome according to their behavior pattern.
A person who is suffering from asperger’s syndrome will repeat one thing a hundred times like an obsessive person. Once they find something they really like then, they can spend hours talking just about it. They will behave obsessively regarding that thing. This may come across as abnormal for some people or some people may let it go thinking that maybe they just really like that thing.
A person who is going through asperger’s syndrome would like to stay isolated. They will prefer if they are alone but this isolation can make it hard for them to understand other people’s feelings. Someone who is going through asperger’s syndrome will have a hard time understanding other people’s emotions. Most of the time they might perceive them wrongly.
A person who is going through asperger’s syndrome will always react loudly. Even if they are outside in a social gathering and if they get news that interests them then, they might give you an exaggerated response. Sometimes they may have a hard time understanding some situations which may lead to an emotional outburst.
Abnormal response to stimuli:
A person who is suffering from asperger’s syndrome may be hypersensitive or under sensitive. Meaning that they might respond to the stimuli in an overly excited way or they might completely disregard the situation. It depends on the stimuli (situation) and their interest level.
Hard time in understanding behavior:
Someone who is dealing with asperger’s syndrome will have a hard time understanding other people’s behavior. They will be unable to understand the facial expressions and body language of the person communicating with them. This may frustrate them to no end and lead to an emotional outburst.
A person who is dealing with asperger’s syndrome will show the following symptoms while communicating.
Someone who is battling asperger’s syndrome will prefer isolation because it is not easy for them to understand what other people mean and this frustrates them to no end. They will start to isolate themselves and will have minimum to no social contact. They will face difficulties in any social gathering.
Sometimes the voice of a person who is suffering from asperger’s syndrome will come out as stiff. They will have difficulty in lowering their voice when needed. It’s like their voice has a mind of its own. They may face difficulties in moderating their voice which may result in them being extremely loud for some people.
Lack of eye contact:
A person who is suffering from asperger’s syndrome will avoid eye contact with people, especially strangers. They will be awkward and this stems from their antisocial personality. Which will result in them being isolated and avoiding social gatherings.
Below average non verbal skills:
If a person is antisocial and avoids eye contact with you, it is possible that they might be facing problems with their non verbal skills. A person who is suffering from asperger’s syndrome will have a hard time in understanding the humor and sarcasm, they won’t be able to understand the body language and facial expressions of the person who is trying to communicate with them.
What are the different types of personality traits in Asperger’s syndrome?
Asperger’s syndrome is not a mental illness on its own, it is associated with autism. Psychologists and researchers have derived the following personality types in an asperger’s syndrome.
- Fixated personality
- Disruptive personality
- Approach personality
- Avoidant personality
The fixated personality is a type of personality in which a person is obsessive about their likes and dislikes. They demand perfectionism and they want to have full control over their environment. Following are the characteristics of a fixated personality:
- They will make a list for everything
- They might be into obsessive cleaning
- They will follow rules and regulations strictly.
- They will pay attention to the minute details.
- They will have an antisocial personality trait.
- If they are a kid then, they might check their homework a hundred times before submitting it.
The disruptive personality is a type of personality in which a person will lie and get into trouble. They might have an addiction problem. They will constantly get into trouble and may not be responsible. Following are the characteristics of disruptive personality:
- Addicted to alcohol or drugs
- They can easily lie.
- No sense of responsibility.
- They will never follow rules and regulations.
- They might not have a healthy relationship with their parents.
- They may be violent.
- They have the tendency to make impulsive decisions.
- They might have a manipulative personality.
Approach personality is a type of personality that can easily talk for hours and hours if the topic is of their interest. Some people may call them excessive talkers. They can’t help it and go into a state of mind blindness when something sparks their interest. Following are the characteristics of approach personality:
- They can talk for hours if the topic sparks their interest.
- They might sound obsessive.
- They don’t follow rules which are not according to their standards.
- Over dramatic and excessive talker.
- They are attention seekers.
- They might violate your personal space.
Avoidant personality is a type of personality where a person is either hypersensitive or under sensitive. They might be extremely shy or extremely bold. They will reject and avoid anything that is not according to their comfort. Following are the characteristics of avoidant personality:
- They might think that they are inferior/superior to others.
- A person will stay quiet in the background or they will want everyone’s attention on them.
- They will never engage in new activities because of the fear of embarrassment.
- They might have a drink or two before any event to calm their nerves.
- Most people will perceive them as attention seekers.
What are some famous people with Asperger’s syndrome?
Our famous celebrities present themselves as flawless but we sometimes forget that these famous people are also humans. They also deal with stress, anxiety, depression, and many other mental illnesses. Here is the list of some famous people with asperger’s syndrome:
- Susan Boyle
- Courtney Love
- Dan Harmon
- Dan Aykroyd
- Daryl Hannah
- Sir Anthony Hopkins
- Andy Warhol
Susan Boyle first shocked the world in 2009 when she released her song, “I dreamed of a dream”. The song became extremely popular and sold a record breaking amount. Susan then started her first world tour and worked on music some more. When she was 47, Susan started feeling the symptoms. She would feel anxious when making eye contact, the emotional withdrawal, and social isolation made her realize that something was wrong. Her doctor told her that she has asperger’s syndrome. While giving an interview to The Guardian, she said “Asperger’s doesn’t define me.”
Courtney Love is a singer and actress. She is considered as one of the elites of Hollywood. Courtney in her biography, “Courtney Love: The Real Story” revealed that she was 9 years old when she was diagnosed with asperger’s syndrome but she didn’t let it stop her. In fact, she faced these challenges head on and emerged victorious.
Dan Harmon is the producer/actor of the hit show “Community” on NBC. While giving an interview to the Wired Magazine Harmon revealed that he always had the symptoms related to asperger’s syndrome and once he took the test, the doctor’s confirmed that indeed he was going through asperger’s syndrome. He revealed that after that he started researching more about the illness to stay aware.
Dan Aykroyd was best known for his role in The Guardian, Ghostbusters, and Saturday Night Live. While giving an interview to The Guardian, Dan revealed that while doing Ghostbusters he became obsessive with ghosts. He would keep on talking about them for hours and would read about them. He consulted a psychiatrist and found out that he was suffering from asperger’s syndrome.
Daryl Hannah is an actress who is best known for her role in The Fury. She revealed that at an early stage of her career she was diagnosed with asperger’s syndrome. The illness made it hard for her to continue her job because most of the time she just wanted to isolate herself but her job demanded her to interact with people everyday. She revealed that she never attends any premier or talk show and uses that time to calm her nerves and to remind herself that she is okay.
Sir Anthony Hopkins:
Sir Anthony Hopkins, the academy award winning actor for his role Hannibal Lecter in the movie “The Silence Of The Lambs” revealed that his asperger’s syndrome often helped him getting into his favorite roles. Whenever he would really like a role then, he would use his asperger’s syndrome to his advantage.
Andy Worho is an influential pop artist. He used repetitive art patterns in his work. Many people believe that his repetition made everyone think that he might be having asperger’s syndrome. Later Dr. Judith Gould revealed that indeed he was suffering from asperger’s syndrome and his art is a representation of that syndrome. He explained that if we look keenly only then we will know his obsession and repetition.
How did these celebrities overcome their asperger’s syndrome?
Many famous people were diagnosed with asperger’s syndrome, some of them were dealing with the syndrome since childhood while others were diagnosed with asperger’s much later in life. But they never gave up and faced all of their life challenges head on. These are some of the tips celebrities shared on how they overcome their asperger’s syndrome.
- Make it your strength
- Use the repetition for your advantage
- Get out of unwanted situations
- You can do anything
Make it your strength:
What we can learn from the stories of different famous people is that they never thought of asperger’s as their weakness. In fact, they made it their strength and used it for their advantage. They recognized the symptoms and didn’t let any of the symptoms disrupt their life.
Use the repetition for your advantage:
One of the symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome is repetition. You are unable to move on from a certain thing that you like. If you read about the biography of any famous person who had asperger’s syndrome then you will know that they used repetition as an advantage. Especially an actor who is suffering from asperger’s syndrome can use repetition to get into their character.
Get out of unwanted situations:
Isolation and having an antisocial personality are one of the symptoms of asperger’s syndrome. Many celebrities who suffer from asperger’s syndrome say that it is okay if they are not as social as other people. They need time for themselves and if they can avoid any situation then why not?
You can do anything:
Having asperger’s syndrome does not define your limit. Many famous people who were suffering from asperger’s syndrome continued with their career and did not hide from the rest of the world. They were never ashamed of their illness and acknowledged it. These celebrities always believed that their asperger’s does not define who they are.
What treatments are there for Asperger’s syndrome?
Every person is different, not every person is going to respond positively to a certain treatment. According to scientists, the following are the treatment options that will surely work on people who are going through asperger’s syndrome.
- Social skills training
- Speech therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Parent education and therapy
- Applied behavior analysis
Social skills training:
Social skills training is done by therapists in a one-on-one session or in a group session. This is done to eliminate fear from people’s minds regarding socializing. This is to make them more comfortable in a social gathering. This treatment has no negative impact and it works more positively on children who are suffering from asperger’s syndrome.
Speech therapy is done to improve the flat tone in a person’s voice. This therapy will teach a person on how to use the normal up and down tone without sounding edgy or flat. This will also help a person to carry out a conversation without being awkward.
Cognitive behavioral therapy:
Cognitive behavioral therapy will help a person understand their emotions better. This therapy will shed light on a person’s obsessive behavior and will help them control it. It is not going to show the results after one session. It is a long process so the treatment will take time. But the results will be positive.
Parent education and therapy:
If your child is going through asperger’s syndrome then, you must take parent education and therapy. This will help you as a parent learn about the illness and also about some tricks that you can use to control your child’s asperger’s syndrome.
FDA hasn’t approved any drug that specifically treats asperger’s syndrome but there are some medications that can control the illness. These medications are:
- Antipsychotic drugs
- Stimulant medications
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
Applied behavior analysis:
Applied behavior analysis is a technique that is used by therapists to encourage positive behavior in people who are going through asperger’s syndrome. In this technique a therapist will discourage their negative behavior and encourage positive behavior. This will give them a clear understanding about the dos and don’ts.
Although there are no official treatments or medications for asperger’s syndrome but with good behavioral therapy, speech therapy, and parental education this syndrome can be controlled. There are many famous people who fought with asperger’s syndrome and never gave up. These people were at the prime of their career when they were diagnosed with asperger’s syndrome but not even for once they accepted their defeat.
It is easier said than done, people who go through this illness only know how frustrating it is to not know the meaning behind the conversation that they are having. People who battle asperger’s syndrome have a hard time understanding emotions, facial expressions, and body language. They will prefer isolation than awkward conversations. But asperger’s syndrome is not your end, with the right treatment and therapy you can learn how to control your emotions and how you can socialize without any major difficulty.