The early signs of social skills problems possibly present during preschool become very apparent in elementary school. The Asperger’s Disorder child will generally be either withdrawn from social interactions, preferring to stay by himself, or quite the opposite: he is intrusive, loud, relentless, and annoying to his peers. Asperger’s Disorder children’s inability to understand social behavior can result in aggression when they misinterpret other children’s behavior as purposely “out to get them,” and they retaliate with hitting or other outbursts of violence.
Sadly, their unusual manner of interacting is obvious and their peers quickly learn to avoid them. By mid-elementary school, the Asperger’s Disorder child is aware that he is not fitting in, but does not understand why.
Their typically advanced intellect and reading and vocabulary skills can make it confusing for the teacher to understand how a child so smart can exhibit such immature behavior. Teachers may experience trouble getting the Asperger’s Disorder child to become engaged in activities other than his interest. Outbursts of talking back, refusal to comply, and tantrums occur in some Asperger’s Disorder children who have particular difficulty with transitioning between classroom activities. However, not all Asperger’s Disorder children have behavior problems, and their difficulties may be limited to the social arena.