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Asperger syndrome is used to describe people who have autism but who may be more able to cope with everyday life.

What is it like for siblings if their brother or sister has Asperger syndrome?

Siblings often have a really good relationship with their brother or sister with Asperger syndrome. However, they may sometimes feel that everything has to revolve around their brother or sisters’ needs. It may be hard to go on days out or to do things that other families do. Siblings understand that their brother or sister need lots of attention. However, they can feel left out or jealous of the extra time which their parents spend with them. They may feel that they have to look after their brother or sister all the time.

What causes Asperger syndrome?

Like autism, no-one knows what causes Asperger syndrome.  People are born with it.  Some people know that they have it when they are children but other people may not know that they have Asperger syndrome until they are older.

What does it mean?

People with Asperger syndrome may like doing the same things at the same times every day and get very upset when these routines are broken. They may find it difficult to join in with groups and to make new friends. They can also find it very hard when there are lots of people around or lots of things happening at the same time.

Some people with Asperger syndrome are affected through their senses.  Their hearing may be very sensitive and they may not like loud noises.  They may have a very strong sense of taste and find some foods really horrible.  They may also dislike being touched or hugged. People with Asperger syndrome can speak clearly but they may think that people always mean exactly what they say. For example, they may not be able to tell when someone is joking. They may only talk about their favourite subject and they may be very interested in particular things such as trains or the weather. They may not understand how other people feel and may want to play games with other people but may not know how to do this. They may be very good at something such as maths and may be very good at learning and remembering information.

What treatment is there?

Like autism, there is no cure for Asperger syndrome but people who have it can be helped to make the most of their abilities. With the best help, people with Asperger syndrome can improve all the time.

This information has been approved by The National Autistic Society, March 2013