“Asperger Syndrome” (ASD or High Functioning Autism) and Relationships

ASPERGER SYNDROME & RELATIONSHIPS: Life With an Adult on the Autism Spectrum

One of my top priorities is treating “Asperger Syndrome” and relationships. “Asperger Syndrome” (AS) is the term applied to the high functioning end of what is known as the spectrum of pervasive developmental disorders or the Autism Spectrum. Currently the term “Asperger Syndrome” has fallen out of favor; instead clinicians use the terms ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) or High Functioning Autism (HFA). However, I use the terms interchangeably, especially since the term “Asperger Syndrome” is so well known. If you would like to learn more about this change in nomenclature, please read my Blog post, “ASPERGER SYNDROME—What’s in a Name?”

When  “Asperger Syndrome” is part of the mix in a relationship, the challenges easily mount. This is not to say that the ASD partner is to blame or is at “fault.” However, given that the core characteristics of “Asperger Syndrome” relate to communication, emotions, perspective taking and sensory issues, the very components upon which relationships are built, it is no wonder that misunderstanding and frustration often crop up in these relationships. Without insight and tolerance gained from understanding each other, many NT spouses and family members end up feeling misunderstood, frustrated, isolated and unloved. Unfortunately this often and unnecessarily leads to divorce.

These can be very tough relationships but as a seasoned professional I will help you through the dark times. Focusing on the Neurotypical (NT) partners and family members of someone with ASD, I help my clients understand “Asperger Syndrome” and then take a closer look at how it impacts their relationships. I also use a coaching method with the ASD partner to help them learn social and relationship skills that they and their NT loved one need to have a healthy relationship.

Couple having argument on sofa
These can be tough relationships…

There’s so much more that can be said about the complexity of these relationships, that I decided to write three books on the subject. I hope you read them and learn that you are not alone.

In fact, it’s so tough to fully comprehend and break out of all of the heartbreak, chaos and crisis that erupts in ASD/NT relationships, that I organized an online support group to help you clear your head and give voice to your concerns. To my surprise the group has grown from a local monthly lunch meeting through Meetup, to an online group of thousands of members world-wide hosted by Dr. Kathy. We are a private members-only group of Neuro-Typicals, who share their stories and offer support through forums, teleconferences and small group videoconferences. I hope you’ll join us at “Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD.”