The behaviors known to make up the spectrum of autism are very much social in nature. They can be detected in familial interactions as well as alone time. It is the social implications of the behaviors that speak to the necessity of its early diagnosis.
Probably the most commonly known symptom for autism comes in the form of repetitive behaviors. This particular symptom can be seen all across the spectrum. It is the degree to which such patterns are practiced as well as what it takes to cause cessation that can be useful in determining the severity of the disease.
Obviously, if an individual is so committed to knocking his/her head against the wall that he/she cannot be distracted, functioning is very much impaired and diagnosis would be on the low end of the spectrum. However, repetitive behaviors practiced on a much smaller scale can be seen by observers as annoyances instead of symptoms. That can be a problem for an undiagnosed aspergers victim.
Other symptoms of Aspergers are not so obvious. Individuals afflicted can have problems with social interactions and may present like they are not even interested in them. Difficulties with communication can look like speech issues when they could in fact be caused by an inability to read body language or other skills necessary for conversation.
Creative play, abstract thinking, and changing course outside their little box can be very difficult too making interactive play and teamwork a struggle. Aspergers kids can also be very literal setting them up to not understand the nuances of communication and cooperation. Understanding the concept of sharing and the importance of empathy can all be challenging to grasp.
Any combination of these aspergers symptoms leaves an afflicted person with a list of behaviors that interfere with social interactions and prevent relationship building. Despite the fact many look like they don't care about relationships, most want to fit in just like the rest of us. Early intervention to teach necessary social skills can give those diagnosed with Asperger's Sypmtoms the tools they need to lead happy, productive lives.