Asperger syndrome is a disorder on the autism spectrum most often diagnosed in childhood or adolescence. The disorder does not impact cognitive ability but can affect the individual's understanding of social cues. People with Asperger's often excel in fields like mathematics, computer science, linguistics, and music, and have average or above-average IQ. As they reach adulthood, their perceived issues often lessen as they become more adept at socially acceptable behavior.
Those with Asperger syndrome are often unable to pick up on social cues around them. They may fail to laugh or cry when a situation warrants these emotions, struggle to understand jokes, and take things literally. Someone with Asperger's may make comments inappropriate for the situation, or they may continue a conversation past a socially acceptable point, unaware of social "cues" given by those uncomfortable or disinterested in the conversation. This lack of awareness of another person's feelings is not intentional rudeness. Instead, neurologists think certain areas of the brain are structurally different in people with the disorder. One theory maintains that abnormal development of embryonic cells in utero affects the connectivity and final structure of the brain. This may cause alterations in the neural circuits that control behavior and cognition.
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