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Home >  Information A-ZAll Kids Information Articles Asperger's Syndrome

Asperger's Syndrome

Asperger’s Syndrome is a neurobiological disorder characterized by marked deficiencies in social and communication skills. People affected by Asperger’s Syndrome normally have average to above average intelligence and normal to high language development but they lack social skills and the ability to understand and respond to other people’s body language such as nonverbal clues, facial expressions and mannerisms. An adult or child with Asperger’s Syndrome longs to fit in with their peers but often finds that they do not know how to.

The symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome can include a persistent preoccupation with one subject or idea, the inability to develop peer relationships, a lack of social interaction, the inability to make eye contact, the inability to share one’s emotions or interests with others, a lack of common sense, repetitive mannerisms like finger twisting, difficulty with abstract thought, difficulty with transitions, a need for routine and an extreme sensitivity to sound, taste, smell and sights.

A person with Asperger’s Syndrome is usually thought of by others as highly intelligent and extremely talented in his/her chosen line of work, but also as eccentric, oddly behaved, aloof and socially distant. Sufferers of Asperger’s Syndrome have a difficulty grasping and expressing empathy. The symptoms of the disorder are hard to recognize because the sufferer usually has good language skills, age-appropriate self-reliance skills and a healthy interest in the world around them. The diagnosis is made more difficult since the characteristics of this disorder can range from mild to severe. Especially in children, Asperger’s Syndrome is often misdiagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Most patients are diagnosed with Asperger’s between the ages of 5 and 9.

Asperger’s Syndrome is hereditary. Families of sufferers can usually trace the behavior back to one or two “odd-acting” relatives. While the genetic tendencies of Asperger’s Syndrome is clear, it is unknown why the syndrome affects boys 9 times more often than girls.

There is no cure for Asperger’s Syndrome nor is there a specific treatment plan. Depending on the patient’s therapist’s or doctor’s instruction, the treatment plan could include psychotherapy, parent education and training, behavioral modifications, social skills training, educational considerations and interventions and medications. Most medications prescribed to a sufferer of Asperger’s are not for the disorder itself but for the accompanying symptoms brought on by the disorder. Persons with Asperger’s Syndrome are more likely to suffer from anxiety and are at risk to develop mood problems such as depression and Bipolar Disorder.

With children diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, special consideration should be taken in terms of education. Since a child with this disorder is usually proficient at memorization, calculations and subject focus, they run the risk of being moved through each grade level without concern. While their grades will be adequate, they will be suffering with social skills. This can set the child up for teasing or a feeling of aloneness. The best form of action to take with the school is to develop and obtain an IEP (Individualized Education program) for your child. This document will make it easier to obtain the necessary adjustments that a child with Asperger’s will need. These adjustment may include in-school counseling, special classes in socialization and communication and teacher training on the aspects of Asperger’s Syndrome.

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