Asperger's Syndrome

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Asperger Syndrome is a neurobiological disorder where children with normal intelligence and language development exhibit autistic-like behaviors and marked deficiencies in social and communication skills. The disorder is named after a Viennese physician, Hans Asperger, who in 1944 published a paper describing this behavior pattern.

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[edit] Why should I be aware of this?

  • There is still a considerable amount of debate as to exactly where Asperger Syndrome fits. Some professionals say it is a part of autism spectrum disorder, a High Functioning Autism. Others feel that it is better described as a Nonverbal Learning Disability. AS shares many of the characteristics of PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder; Not otherwise specified), HFA, and NLD.
  • As it was virtually unknown until a few years ago, many individuals either received an incorrect diagnosis or remained undiagnosed. Many who were initially diagnosed with ADD or ADHD were re-diagnosed with AS. Similarly, some individuals who were originally diagnosed with HFA or PDD-NOS are now being given the AS diagnosis and many individuals have a dual diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism.

[edit] All about Asperger's Syndrome

Asperger outlined the differences between autism and his syndrome to be:

  • the child with Asperger's Syndrome is not so disturbed;
  • the child is very intelligent;
  • he or she is endowed with special abilities;
  • the child first shows symptoms in the third year and;
  • the child develops highly grammatical speech very early.

Asperger's Syndrome is often diagnosed when a child starts school because that is the time when the problem comes to light. Such children often prefer their own company and are bad at interaction with peers as they tend to talk exclusively about their interests and do not ask any questions. Social responses are often inappropriate.

[edit] Of high intelligence

Children with Asperger's Syndrome are often of average to high intelligence and have impressive memories for facts and figures. They find great interest in reading books. But they are handicapped by their inability to imagine what others are thinking and are unable to interpret non-verbal cues. Nor can they interpret other's emotions and lack empathy. Minor upsets in life bring about extreme reactions in them.

[edit] Other characteristics

  • Asperger's Syndrome children are often obsessed with a particular topic or interest. They may talk incessantly about their passion and show little interest in anything else.
  • They like routine and find it difficult to adapt to change. For every new move or endeavor, they need considerable preparation.
  • Preferably children with Asperger's Syndrome play by themselves. But at times when they play with others, they like to control the activities and don’t like to be challenged.
  • They have strange speech patterns and may have an odd way of speaking. Advanced vocabularies are used and conversations are interpreted literally. Figures of speech and sarcasm are not understood.
  • Most Asperger's Syndrome children have poor motor skills and struggle at sport and coordination.

[edit] Diagnosis and treatment

It is very difficult to diagnose. The seriousness and signs of the disorder fluctuate from person to person, and the child in question will need to be observed closely. Various tests have to be conducted to discover the child's emotional and behavioral issues as well as find out about motor skills, speech, and communication problems.

Although Asperger's syndrome cannot be cured, early diagnosis and treatment can improve the child's behavior and social skills. With proper treatment and care they can also start understanding body language, make eye contact, appreciate humor, and be trained to speak in a more natural way. There are no medications to treat Asperger's. What is available can only help to alleviate some of the symptoms that can accompany it, like anxiety and hyperactivity.

[edit] What can I do?

  • People with Asperger's Syndrome, like those with autism, respond best when they have a regular, organized routine. It is important for everyone connected with him to understand that he will have difficulties understanding abstract language.
  • Teachers are advised to allow the student some time to develop his own interests and self esteem. How to handle teasing and bullying, both on the student's part and as a classroom or school-wide issue will also need to be addressed.
  • The ideal job for someone with Asperger's Syndrome will most likely be one with a regular routine. Co-workers and employers should be sensitive to the person's "eccentricities".
  • Children with Asperger's Syndrome can be helped with appropriate training and therapy and they are capable of leading happy, fulfilled lives. The key to achieving this is acknowledging the condition and seeking professional help.

[edit] CopperBytes

  • It is estimated that one out of five thousand kids have Asperger's syndrome.
  • Boys are three times more likely to have Asperger's than girls,
  • The exact cause of this condition is unknown.
  • Some researchers attribute this condition to hereditary factor.
  • Kids with Asperger's syndrome don't seem to be able to pick up on body language, and they do not have social skills.

[edit] References:

  • What Is Asperger Syndrome?
  • Does My Child Have Asperger's Syndrome
  • Asperger's syndrome: A Developmental Disorder