Children with autism or Aspergers syndrome often perceive their own personality or that of others differently. When asked to what they or themselves or other children are like, descriptions relating to height, age or appearance are used. If personality is described, it will tend to focus simply on whether someone is ‘nice’ or not.
Non-autistic children usually are quick to intuitively learn about the personalities of others. They pick up the inclination of other children to be chatty, naughty in the classroom, friendly, manipulative or angry. Children on the spectrum often miss these cues and may try to form friendships with children who aren’t suited to them. Tony Attwood recommends using the popular Mr. Men stories by Roger Hargreaves which describe a range of personality types such as Little Miss Chatterbox and Mr. Nosey and Mr. Grumpy.
A visual way parents can help their child to identify the personality traits of other children is getting their child to select an animal they feel represents someone’s personality. Parents can play a constructive role in their child’s life by encouraging them to analyse the personalities of others so that they can choose more appropriate friends as they get older.