A Brief Overview of Asperger’s Syndrome

Aspergers Syndrome

Asperger’s syndrome gets its name from Hans Asperger, an Austrian doctor who was the first to describe the disorder back in 1944, although the syndrome was only recognized as a unique disorder years later. It is a type of pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) which also includes autism. This group of PDD conditions presents as developmental delay of some basic skills; the most outstanding being the ability to comfortably socialize with others, to make use of imagination, and to have productive communication. The disorder usually presents in childhood, although often is not correctly diagnosed until adulthood.

In some respects Asperger’s syndrome has some similarities to autism, although autism is a more severe type of PDD. It can be said that Asperger’s syndrome is the mildest form of autism and includes higher functioning.

The child with Asperger’s syndrome usually will have normal intelligence. Cognitive development (i.e., math or reading skills) is not significantly delayed, nor is curiosity, behavior, or age-appropriate self-help abilities, nor are there any significant language development problems. Adaptive behavior impairment is only in the area of social interaction. Children with Asperger’s syndrome often talk early in their development. They may have a fascination with letters and numbers and may even be able to read words before they are able to understand their meanings.

Some Common Symptoms Associated with Asperger’s Syndrome

The child with Asperger’s syndrome has problems and awkwardness with social interactions. Conversing does not come easily; they have trouble initiating a conversation. Often, they do not make eye contact while speaking with another person. It is hard for them to make friends. There can be a close relationship with family members but inappropriate responses when dealing with others; for example, a child with Aperger’s syndrome may try to hug another child or scream at the child during their initial attempt to make contact.

A child with Asperger’s syndrome may display repetitive, odd movements or movements that are eccentric, clumsy or awkward, and they may show minimal facial expressions. Such a child may not well understand body language and tend to interpret language in a very literal sense or not understand language in context.

Asperger's Syndrome

The child with Asperger’s syndrome might display preoccupations that are out of the ordinary, or feel the need to go through certain rituals, such as a specific order in getting dressed. There may be a preoccupation or near-obsessive interest in narrow and very specific areas of interest and a desire to absorb a lot of detailed information about or show intense interest in obscure topics such as doorknob styles or deep fat fryers.

Often children with Asperger’s syndrome display exceptional skills or talent in a particular area, such as math or music.

Only Recently Recognized As A Disorder

The number of people with Asperger’s syndrome is not known since it is only recently that Asperger’s syndrome has been recognized as a distinct disorder. In the U.S. and Canada, estimates range between 1 in 250 to 1 in 10,000. It is more common than autism and males are four times more likely to develop the disorder.

No cure, prevention or specific medication exists for Asperger’s syndrome as yet, but early diagnosis and a variety of therapies such as behavior modification, social skills therapy, occupational, speech, and/or physical therapy can reduce some of the undesirable behaviors and improve functioning.

 

References:

http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/mental-health-aspergers-syndrome

http://psychcentral.com/lib/symptoms-of-aspergers-disorder/000877

http://www.autism-help.org/aspergers-characteristics-signs.htm

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Category: Autism

Comments (5)

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  1. Avatar Guy says:

    Let me start by identifying that I have Aspergers Syndrome. I’m over 50 years old which was when I discovered that Aspergers Syndrome was why my life was the way was and is today. Aspergers Syndrome, which is generally not the term used by health professionals anymore, is incurable. My thinking is that I would not want to be entirely cured. I don’t have to deal with emotions even though we have them and have placed under control. We know how to speak to and understand each other. Normal people generally do not adventure into our world because they don’t understand it and because they don’t understand it they try to “fix” there children. I find that rather abusive. Why reduce a child to being normal as if normal actually exists? It doesn’t by the way. The real issue is not that an autistic person can’t function. It’s that they have far too much to do all at once. Take talking for example. If the human body could produce speech as fast as we can think it, someone would have to record it and slow it down considerably for the average person to understand it and the average person would need to learn our rules of speech. It not that any of us are less. We’re actually more. Some of us are limited by what our bodies can do.

    • Avatar Guy says:

      I would suggest that the average person is disabled and they don’t want to get better by learning. So, they forcefully, at great pains to autistic children, try to make them average through repetitive training which only magnifies an autistic persons inability to teach an average person how to connect with the average person.

      • Avatar Modern Health says:

        That’s interesting Guy. Makes me think about how “Paige” on the TV show “Scorpion” thought her son had a disability, but he was actually a genius. Since she wasn’t, she couldn’t understand him or communicate with him very well. It took the Scorpion geniuses to recognize the boy’s genius and they were able to understand him easily. I know it’s just a television show, but it’s the same concept.

  2. Avatar Guy says:

    Let me start by identifying that I have Aspergers Syndrome. I’m over 50 years old which was when I discovered that Aspergers Syndrome was why my life was the way was and is today. Aspergers Syndrome, which is generally not the term used by health professionals anymore, is incurable. My thinking is that I would not want to be entirely cured. I don’t have to deal with emotions even though we have them and have placed under control. We know how to speak to and understand each other. Normal people generally do not adventure into our world because they don’t understand it and because they don’t understand it they try to “fix” there children. I find that rather abusive. Why reduce a child to being normal as if normal actually exists? It doesn’t by the way. The real issue is not that an autistic person can’t function. It’s that they have far too much to do all at once. Take talking for example. If the human body could produce speech as fast as we can think it, someone would have to record it and slow it down considerably for the average person to understand it and the average person would need to learn our rules of speech. It not that any of us are less. We’re actually more. Some of us are limited by what our bodies can do.

  3. Avatar Melissa says:

    Hi Guy, I agree. I am the mom of an amazing 11 year old boy who displays these remarkable talents of what I call super sonic speed “whole picture”instant knowing. Very sad to know the reality of this worlds “dysfunction” in how different styles of both learning and communicating separates us into unhealthy labeled isolation, or segregated by misunderstanding.

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