The Characteristics of Asperger's in Teen Boys

By Brenda Scottsdale
One in 300 children suffers from Asperger's Syndrome.
One in 300 children suffers from Asperger's Syndrome.

Asperger's syndrome is a form of autism that occurs 10 times more frequently in boys than girls, according to an article by Susan Stokes, autism consultant, for the Special Education U.S. website. This disorder usually becomes noticeable as boys enter school, due to increased contact with peers in social situations. Because boys with Asperger's syndrome are impaired socially, afflicted teenage boys tend to be awkward loners.

Social Awkwardness

The main characteristic of Asperger's syndrome is problematic social relationships, according to WebMD. Although many boys suffering from this disorder learn social skills by the time they are teenagers, they remain socially awkward. Traits such as dislike of change, avoiding eye contact and disliking touch set these boys apart from their peers. While individual differences abound, a teenage boy with Asperger's syndrome may talk loudly, interrupt frequently, violate personal space and monopolize the conversation talking about his interests.

Failure to Fit In

Boys with Asperger's tend to lack muscle coordination, which isolates them from sports-bonding rituals with their peers. They can be oblivious to peer pressure. While this characteristic might save them from getting into legal trouble, it also differentiates them in negative ways. Asperger boys don't look like typical teenagers in the way they dress, the mannerisms they adopt, and the interests that occupy them. Poor hygiene leads to greasy hair, uncut nails and an unshaven face.

Problems Communicating

Most teenagers recognize subtle distinctions in tone, pitch, meter and accent in speech patterns that alter a person's meaning; however, a teenager with Asperger's may miss these social cues. Teenage boys might not be able to tell that a remark made by their peers is a joke, for example, and repeat something sexually inappropriate to a girl. Sarcasm may be taken literally resulting in awkward social interactions. Speech may be flat, atonal and more formal than what is appropriate to the situation.

Acting Out

While many teenagers are more emotionally labile, these years are especially difficult for boys with Asperger's. Because coping skills are lacking, they tend to become easily emotionally overwhelmed. Lacking emotional regulation, a distraught teenage boy with Asperger's syndrome can throw a tantrum, much like younger children. Because they are larger and stronger than younger children, this type of tantrum can have serious implications, sometimes culminating in physical attacks on peers, parents or teachers. Anger turned inward can result in suicide or drug addiction which can have serious and life threatening implications.

About the Author

Brenda Scottsdale is a licensed psychologist, a six sigma master black belt and a certified aerobics instructor. She has been writing professionally for more than 15 years in scientific journals, including the "Journal of Criminal Justice and Behavior" and various websites.