Asperger's: A Break In Communication Essay

1858 words - 8 pages

Asperger’s:
A Break in Communication
Comm 200
Michael O’Donnell
9/27/10

Asperger’s: A Breakdown in Communication
We are able to communicate with others in multiple ways, a kind word of encouragement, a pat on the back, yelling, and the tilt of the head are just a few examples. Those with Asperger’s syndrome have trouble expressing and interrupting the true meaning of the messages in an encounter. Asperger Syndrome is a type of pervasive developmental delay that effects imagination, ability to socialize, and most importantly communication skills (WebMD, 2009). I will discuss effective principles in interpersonal communication, their barriers and strategies for interpersonal conflict ...view middle of the document...

An individual with Asperger’s tend to be very literal, therefore they may have trouble with some basic communication rules such as ritual language, and using euphemisms and doublespeak. Ritual language is expected responses within particular settings. For example one may ask another “how are you?” the expected response would be fine or good because the reason for asking is to be polite not to get a detailed account of how the person is feeling. An individual with Asperger’s does not understand this and would therefore give a thorough rendition of their physical state at the time.
Euphemisms, a mild or vague expression substituted for one that is thought to be harsh or offensive may confuse an individual with Asperger’s because they arrive at the literal meaning of a phrase of sentence. For example, if someone were to say “hold your horses” to an individual with Asperger’s they may respond with “I don’t have horses!”, as my son, who has Asperger’s syndrome, has done in the past. Verbal cues are not the only communication elements that get misunderstood with those affected by Asperger’s syndrome.
The next area that individuals with Asperger’s syndrome have trouble with is reading and using non-verbal cues in communication. Often times non-verbal aspects of communication will not match what they are saying (Asperger's Syndrome - Understanding - Prognosis – Treatment,n.d.). For example, Asperger’s individuals can speak with a flat affect even when they are excited about what they are talking about, confusing the other person. Conflictingly, if they are being spoken to in a raised voice they may not infer that the other person is angry or upset. Researchers believe this is due to their inability to understand their own emotions, thoughts and intentions as well as others’. This is thought to have an impact on their emotional IQ. Researchers in Canada found during a study involving youths with Asperger’s that they had a significantly lower emotional intelligence score than the standardized sample (Montgomery, et al., Jun 2008). They found that sufferers of Asperger’s could not apply an understanding of emotion into their daily interpersonal interactions.
My son has numerous meltdowns a week due to the fact that he cannot recognize his frustration, anger, or unhappy feelings toward someone or something. He tends to scream, throw and hit and cannot calm himself down on his own. One incident comes to mind where we were outside with his younger brother. He wanted to go inside for something to drink, but instead of saying that he said that he wanted to go in. He was told that we weren’t going inside yet since we had only been out for a short time and his brother was still playing, a meltdown ensued. After thirty to forty-five minutes of working with him, he was able to calm down and inform me of what he really wanted - a drink. Not only did he express an inappropriate response to not being able to go inside yet, he was unable to ask for what he...

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