My colleague Linda Baker has just returned from Brisbane where she spent several weeks watching and working with Asperger expert Tony Attwood. Linda passed on the following question she learned from Tony that is useful in differentiating "neurotypicals" (non-Asperger folks) from Asperger kids:
Imagine that you come home from school and see your mother standing in the kitchen crying. You know that its not your fault that she's crying...What would you do?
I tried it out yesterday in my clinical practice, posing the question to 5 children ranging in age from 7-14. All of them gave "escape" type of responses (e.g., "I would go downstairs and play video games until she stopped crying;" "I would leave her alone;" "I would walk away," etc.). Incredible! The "neurotypical" response (in case you happen to be an Asperger's type yourself) is to ask your mother what is wrong or to comfort her in some way.