Avatars or online alter-egos can help individuals with Asperger syndrome deal with frustration in a computer-simulated environment to better cope in the real world, say researchers at the Univ. of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth. Asperger syndrome is a form of autism that does not completely isolate people from the real world. But having the disease makes it hard to understand non-verbal cues such as facial expressions. A program at the university lets patients use avatars in a simulated world to learn how to negotiate with a difficult manager, practice dealing with customers on the job, and interact with people in general.