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Asperger Syndrome: What is it and How Can It Be Treated?

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Asperger syndrome is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior. People with Asperger syndrome have difficulty understanding and responding to social cues, and they may have restricted interests and repetitive behaviors.

What is Asperger’s Syndrome?

Asperger syndrome is a type of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD is a group of developmental disorders that affect communication and behavior. People with ASD have difficulty understanding and responding to social cues, and they may have restricted interests and repetitive behaviors.

Asperger syndrome is often considered a high-functioning form of autism. People with Asperger syndrome typically have average or above-average intelligence, and they may be able to speak and understand language fluently. However, they may have difficulty understanding the nuances of social interaction, and they may miss or misinterpret social cues. They may also have difficulty with nonverbal communication, such as eye contact and body language.

People with Asperger syndrome may also have restricted interests and repetitive behaviors. They may become fixated on certain topics or activities, and they may repeat certain behaviors over and over again. These interests and behaviors can be very intense, and they can interfere with a person’s ability to function in everyday life.

Diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome

There is no single test for Asperger syndrome. The diagnosis is made based on a child’s medical history, developmental history, and behavior. A child may be referred to a developmental pediatrician, child psychologist, or psychiatrist for evaluation.

The diagnostic criteria for Asperger syndrome in the DSM-5 include:

  • Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction, as manifested by the following, currently or by history (examples are illustrative, not exhaustive):
    • Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity:
      • Impaired ability to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with others (e.g., not showing or bringing toys to show others; lack of interest in peer play)
      • Lack of social or emotional reciprocity (e.g., does not respond to or initiate social interactions; fails to take turns)
  • Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities, as manifested by at least two of the following, currently or by history (examples are illustrative, not exhaustive):
    • Engrossed in repetitive patterns of stereotyped motor movements, interests, or activities (e.g., lining up toys or flipping objects, excessive spinning or hand flapping)
    • Insistence on sameness, inflexible adherence to routines, or ritualized patterns of verbal or nonverbal behavior (e.g

 

Symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome

In addition to the diagnostic criteria listed above, people with Asperger syndrome may also experience other symptoms, such as:

  • Difficulty understanding and responding to nonverbal communication
  • Difficulty making eye contact
  • Difficulty understanding facial expressions and body language
  • Difficulty understanding humor
  • Difficulty taking turns in conversation
  • Difficulty understanding social rules and conventions
  • Difficulty making friends
  • Difficulty understanding and responding to emotions in others
  • Fascination with certain topics or activities
  • Repetitive behaviors, such as lining up toys or repeating words or phrases
  • Insistence on sameness and routine
  • Sensory sensitivities, such as being hypersensitive to noise or touch

Comorbidities with Asperger’s Syndrome

People with Asperger syndrome are often diagnosed with other conditions, such as:

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Depression
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Learning disabilities

Treatment for Asperger’s Syndrome

There is no cure for Asperger syndrome, but there are treatments that can help people with the condition to improve their communication, social skills, and behavior.

  • Early intervention: Early intervention is important for children with Asperger syndrome. Early intervention programs can help children learn social skills, communication skills, and how to manage their behavior.
  • Behavioral therapy: Behavioral therapy can help people with Asperger syndrome learn new skills and behaviors. Behavioral therapy can also help people with Asperger syndrome manage their anxiety and other symptoms.
  • Medication: Medication may be used to treat anxiety, depression, or other co-occurring conditions. Medication is not usually used to treat Asperger syndrome itself.
  • Support groups: Support groups can provide a safe and supportive environment for people with Asperger syndrome and their families. Support groups can also provide information and resources about Asperger syndrome.

Life with Asperger’s Syndrome

People with Asperger syndrome can live full and meaningful lives. With the right support, people with Asperger syndrome can learn to manage their symptoms and live independently.

  • School and work: Children with Asperger syndrome may need special accommodations in school, such as a one-on-one aide or a quiet place to work. Adults with Asperger syndrome may need to find jobs that are well-suited to their skills and interests.
  • Social relationships: People with Asperger syndrome may have difficulty making friends. However, there are many ways to make friends, such as joining clubs or groups, volunteering, or taking classes.
  • Adulthood with Asperger’s syndrome: People with Asperger syndrome can live independently as adults. However, they may need some support, such as help with finding a job or managing their finances.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the difference between Asperger syndrome and autism?

Asperger syndrome and autism are both autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). However, there are some key differences between the two conditions. People with Asperger syndrome typically have average or above-average intelligence, while people with autism may have intellectual disabilities. People with Asperger syndrome also typically have better verbal skills than people with autism.

  • How is Asperger syndrome diagnosed?

There is no single test for Asperger syndrome. The diagnosis is made based on a child’s medical history, developmental history, and behavior. A child may be referred to a developmental pediatrician, child psychologist, or psychiatrist for evaluation.

  • What is the treatment for Asperger syndrome?

There is no cure for Asperger syndrome, but there are treatments that can help people with the condition to improve their communication, social skills, and behavior. Early intervention is important for children with Asperger syndrome. Early intervention programs can help children learn social skills, communication skills, and how to manage their behavior. Behavioral therapy can also help people with Asperger syndrome learn new skills and behaviors. Medication may be used to treat anxiety, depression, or other co-occurring conditions. Medication is not usually used to treat Asperger syndrome itself.

  • What is the prognosis for people with Asperger syndrome?

With the right support, people with Asperger syndrome can live full and meaningful lives. Many people with Asperger syndrome go on to college, get married, and have careers. However, some people with Asperger syndrome may need more support throughout their lives.

Conclusion

Asperger syndrome is a complex condition, but it is not a barrier to living a full and meaningful life. With the right support, people with Asperger syndrome can thrive.

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