Asperger's syndrome is a developmental disorder considered to be part of the group of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Children diagnosed with this condition often have difficulty with social interactions and understanding unspoken social cues. As such, these children frequently get into more trouble in school, exasperate teachers, and are the subject of bullying.
Some of those with Asperger's syndrome are highly intelligent and highly verbal. Boys are four times as likely than girls to be diagnosed with the condition, but it remains unclear whether this is because they are four times more likely to develop it, or if the different socialization processes for girls and boys improves social abilities of girls with the disorder so that most become indistinguishable from those who don't have it.
When normal infants are learning to read caregivers' moods through facial expressions, children with Asperger's syndrome are not. When threats and dares are uttered on the playground, normal children might know when another child is bluffing, when to ask an adult to intervene and when to stand up for themselves. Asperger's kids might miss all these cues, getting into unnecessary fights or allowing themselves to be cowed by a kid who was only teasing, marking them as an easy target for bullies.
Teens and adults with Asperger's syndrome may not be able to tell when they are talking too loudly for the situation. They also often develop monomaniacal interests in esoteric topics and cannot understand that others are less interested. Clues that they are boring someone with the depths and details of their interests pass them by, so these people often find themselves socially isolated as their peers avoid them.
People with this disorder can be taught to decode social cues intellectually, rather than instinctively. This is a fairly lengthy and frustrating process, because most people cannot verbalize what they understand instinctively, but recruiting friends and family to help is useful. A teen with Asperger's might tell his most trusted friends, for example, to give him a particular hand signal when he is speaking too loudly, or a different signal when he is talking too much about a topic that no one else is interested in.
It's not a uniformly bleak picture for those with Asperger's syndrome, however. Their ability to focus on very intricate topics makes them extremely well-suited to certain fields of endeavor; computer fields are often considered a natural haven for those with this condition.