Asperger Profiles: Environmental Influences

By AANE Staff

There is some suggestion that environmental factors play a part in influencing certain characteristics of Asperger profiles, or may even affect the expression of genes. The emerging field of epigenetics, the study of the ways in which physiology can be shaped by external factors, might shed more light on this topic moving forward. We do know that many environmental influences can exacerbate the challenges of those with this profile, potentially leading to higher levels of stress, anxiety, or depression. On the contrary, other environments can serve to highlight the strengths of those with an Asperger profile. While these influences vary among individuals, there are certainly predictable patterns.

Some supportive environments/strategies include:

  • Quiet spaces.
  • Natural spaces.
  • Few distractions.
  • Single-focused projects.
  • Detail-oriented projects.
  • Work related to pattern recognition (computers, art, music).
  • Problem-solving tasks requiring non-verbal, hands-on intelligence.
  • Slower-paced work environments with flexible deadlines.
  • Opportunities to decrease stimulation, when needed.
  • Ample space to move around.

Some challenging environments include:

  • Bright (especially unnatural) lights.
  • Crowds.
  • Frequent, loud, and/or dissonant sounds.
  • Multi-tasking situations.
  • Transitions.
  • Lack of structure or routine.
  • Unpredictable environments.
  • Certain foods.
  • Certain textures of clothing.