Why Do People With Asperger Syndrome Sometimes Seem To Be Speaking In A Monologue Rather Than Taking Turns In A Conversation

Dr. Hollander answers the question: 'Monologic Speech And Asperger Syndrome?'

Oct. 23, 2008 -- Question: Why do people with Asperger syndrome sometimes seem to be speaking in a monologue rather than taking turns in a conversation?

Answer: Patients with Asperger syndrome, even though they have better verbal skills than patients with autistic disorder, nevertheless they still have substantial impairment, particularly in the social aspects of language and communcation. So, for example, the tone of their voice may be a monotone and may be very flat, because they're not connecting the social and emotional components with the, sort of, raw verbal components of language.

Also, they have real difficulties in understanding what other people are thinking and feeling, and as a result of that, it's hard for them to maintain a conversation. They don't understand the point of a conversation, which is to impart social and emotional information and elicit a further social response. So they may answer questions in a very literal fashion but have difficulty with the reciprocal give and take of social interactions.