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The Link Between Asperger’s Syndrome and Low Self-Esteem

April 04, 2014
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A certain neurological profile shows correlation between Asperger’s syndrome and low self-esteem. You know it, you see it in others, but how do you guard against it in your child, family member or friend?

Along with some of the hallmark characteristics of Asperger’s is newer research that points to children and adults with the condition displaying low self-esteem and possibly depression, sometimes untreated for years. What is it about this disease that affects people differently than those who develop neurotypically?

Quick Tips for Coping with a Disability The Link Between Asperger’s Syndrome and Low Self Esteem

Imagine if some of your strongest characteristics were ones that naturally caused people to react harshly to you, or you to them? Some of the characteristics of people with Asperger’s tend to draw fire from others around them. The thing is, these traits are not easy to modify; this is what makes them part of the Asperger’s diagnosis. A person with Asperger’s is, by nature, driven to act in a way that draws fire. The toll? A low sense of self-worth.

Through careful coaching changes can be made to how a person with Asperger’s syndrome speaks to others, and as a result, feels about his or herself. Similarly, diversity training helps others see that a person with Asperger’s isn’t just a mainstream individual with a bad attitude. He or she has a neurodevelopmental disorder that requires patience and accommodation.

Some of the traits that are common among people with Asperger’s include:

• Problems reading non-verbal or social cues. This often repels people and causes them to react harshly depending on the interaction.
• Social contact must be directed by them. And since it seems no one wants to play by someone else’s rules all the time, the person with Asperger’s is eventually left alone.
• Poor (or intense) eye contact. Acquaintances and colleagues are left with a feeling of mistrust for a person who won’t hold their gaze while talking.
• One-sided conversations and little ability for small talk.
• Unaware of others’ thoughts, feelings or perceptions which results in appearing rude or inconsiderate. Saying something rude is a sure way to have backlash or isolation.
• Avoidant of social contact or events. Not participating in shared social situations reinforces the solitary behaviour and further damages self-esteem.

Disability.com reiterates some of the key points for managing self-esteem if someone you love has Asperger’s syndrome:

• Concentrate on successes
• Discuss how the person views his or her own achievements
• Ask permission to comment on the person’s progress
• Praise procedures and behaviour that are in line with expectations
• Use positive vocabulary when offering feedback
• Offer plenty of positive reinforcement, not bribes

Every person struggles with low self-esteem from time to time. People with Asperger’s syndrome, however, may see this as a persistent struggle due to uncontrollable elements in their lives and personalities. This should be carefully monitored as self-esteem issues can develop into depression.

An excellent way to measure the strength of our society is to take note of how we care for the wellbeing of those who are vulnerable – including their self-esteem.

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