Problems with ToM can have a significant negative impact on the social interactions and relationships of children and teens with Asperger’s Disorder. Virtually every social encounter requires the use of ToM. Because he lacks this ability, your child may make countless social errors every day, as he says and does what he wants without consideration for its impact on others.
Without ToM, the Asperger’s Disorder child is not able to determine how someone else feels. His inability to read emotional expression in the eyes and face results in insensitivity to others. He will be perceived as rude, uncaring, and disrespectful, although this is not his intention. He cannot decipher intentions and therefore often misinterprets the reasons behind people’s actions. Being unable to distinguish between accidental and intentional actions, the Asperger’s Disorder child can seem almost paranoid, as he usually assumes others are against him. Not being able to consider someone’s feelings, the Asperger’s Disorder child is blunt to the point of insulting.
When conflicts occur, the Asperger’s Disorder child cannot see the other person’s side and will rigidly insist he is right. He will not repair relationships with an apology because he does recognize that his peer is upset. These repeated social errors cause rejection by peers. Fortunately, there are ways to help your child learn ToM that you will learn later in this book.