Asperger syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) which alters the way people perceive the world, communicate with others, and learn.
Although it tends to be milder than other forms of autism, the symptoms are similar; they usually include finding social situations challenging – due to difficulties reading facial expressions, body language and tone – uniquely specialist interests and sensory issues.
If you haven’t already, take a look at last week’s blog to find out more about ASD; what it is, how it affects people, and what to do if you suspect you have the condition.
People who have asperger syndrome often have above average intelligence – usually focused in one particular area; such as maths, design or language. For this reason there are many students in higher education with a form of the condition; and because so many go undiagnosed, several struggle in silence. So we’ve put together some simple study techniques to help make life at college a bit easier for those with the disorder:
Talk to your tutors and anyone else you think might benefit from knowing you have the condition. Making them aware of it will mean they will be able to provide you with more effective support, such as helping you with your time management. People with asperger syndrome often have trouble prioritising tasks, so making both an academic timetable and a social and domestic one will help you keep on top of everything.
“If I get anxious I get in a tizz. I have a timetable; it helps me to see what I have to do next, otherwise I get confused”
Do some research into the resources your university or college has for pupils who are blind, deaf, or who have learning difficulties – like books on tape, or lecture transcripts. Because people who have asperger syndrome often struggle to listen – especially in a busy lecture hall – and take notes simultaneously, gathering handouts and as many support resources as possible can only help. Recording your lectures is also an effective way of combating this.
Find a distraction free study environment, and make sure you set your alarm to schedule in breaks which will lead to more productive studying. ASD students are paradoxically either very easily distracted, or tend to become totally absorbed in their work and lose track of time.
Prepare well for your exams. Many people with the condition have issues with physical proximity. If this sounds like you, ask for a seat near the aisle, or request to sit apart, well before the exam begins, so that it doesn’t distract you.
And finally, if you think you have a form of autism, or asperger syndrome, then talk to a tutor or doctor for support. You can also do a bit of research by visiting the Interactive Autism Network – or your country’s relevant body, such as the Autism Community of Africa, Autism Pakistan and Action for Autism.