Asperger Profiles: Developmental Delays


Every person with Asperger Syndrome is developmentally delayed, not intellectually, but at the social-emotional level. This delay can be significant; for example, a 21-year-old may seem socially and emotionally more like a 14-year-old. The social consequences of being developmentally delayed often become particularly conspicuous during the middle school and high school years, a time when clear social expectations and friendship groups arise and dating becomes more common; children with Asperger profiles seem to fall further and further behind. It can be helpful, or even liberating, to learn that children and/or adults with Asperger profiles are functioning at about two-thirds of their chronological ages. Parents and teachers need not expect a child with an Asperger profile to “act his or her age” and can rest assured that development will continue, just at a slower pace. Individuals with Asperger profiles, too, can take comfort in the knowledge that they are behind but still continuing to grow. As children with Asperger profiles reach adulthood, they gain greater freedom to choose social environments that match their interests and developmental levels. In fact, some adults with Asperger profiles continue to grow and develop socially and emotionally throughout their entire lives.