Asperger’s Syndrome is a developmental disorder characterized by delays in social skills, communication, and imagination. It is similar to Autism. It falls under pervasive developmental disorders (PDD). It may also be a result of motor delays and cognitive trouble. For the most part, a child has a normal level of intelligence, and not all of them have difficulty communicating. Asperger’s Syndrome is a childhood disorder, but it is not diagnosed sometimes until adulthood. The disorder has no cure, but there are services available to help.
Symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome
The symptoms vary among those with Asperger’s Syndrome. Not everyone will have the same symptoms. Not only do symptoms vary, but the severity of symptoms vary too. Antisocial behavior is one system. A person with this disorder has trouble making friends. They do not do well initiating conversation and seem socially awkward. As with autism, a person may have repetitive behaviors. A child also has a specific way of doing things. When it comes to eating, for instance, they do things the same way and do not deviate from that ritual. Communicating is usually difficult. It may not specifically be a language issue, but it could also be an issue related to lack of eye contact or the use of body language. Children are typically very curious. They are interested in almost everything. Those with Asperger’s have a small range of interest. They are interested in only a few things, and that is it. They have trouble broadening their horizon. The talent level of a person with Asperger’s can be remarkable. Many of them have a specific talent that puts them above the rest. Lastly, coordination is a problem. They are usually very clumsy and awkward.
Diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome
These symptoms are very similar to Autism; therefore, a thorough diagnosis has to be made. The main difference between Autism and Asperger’s is the intelligence level and language development. Diagnosis of Asperger’s is usually made after interactions within a school setting or at work. Some children carry the disorder into adulthood, where a diagnosis is made only after that person seeks help for other issues like depression and anxiety. Most diagnoses focus on social ability. Speaking is not a problem but the way that person communicates is odd. Communication is also focused on “I” instead of “You”. It is hard for that person to relate or understand your point of view.
Some specific diagnosis methods include both a physical and psychological exam. A physical exam may seem unnecessary, but it can be very helpful. Coordination lack and low muscle tone are part of a diagnosis. These physical problems can confirm the diagnosis. Blood tests are done as well just to make sure the child’s issues are not a result of abnormal vitamin levels. A psychologist or psychiatrist make a further diagnosis. Neurologists are also able to make a diagnosis. These physicians do more thorough exams and may even use scans of the brain to help.
There is no specific cause of Asperger’s syndrome, but genetics seems to play a major role. Asperger’s is a unique yet uncommonly diagnosed disorder. It may not seem like it, but it is more common than Autism. Not knowing the exact number of those with the disease can only lead to speculation as it relates to prevalence. According to WebMD, 1 in 250 to about 1 in every 10.000 children may have the disease. This is an extremely wide range. As research develops, those numbers will become more specific. In most cases, Asperger’s syndrome is diagnosed between the ages of 2 and 6. These are the years that language and social develop occur. When a child is not hitting its developmental milestones, it is a sign of other problems.
Treating Asperger’s Syndrome
Treatment may include therapy, medication, or new forms of education. Treatment in children is always related to a change in education. Those with Asperger’s have special educational needs. They may not be less intelligent, but they learn differently and need teachers that can structure learning to suit them. Social skills training is important. Since there is a social awkwardness, learning how to engage in social behavior will help a child in the long run. Adults, in particular, may need therapy for their social skills. Socia therapy helps with both verbal and nonverbal communication. Functional therapy may also be necessary. Speech therapy help with language delays and physical therapy helps with coordination.
Asperger’s syndrome is a common disorder, but many of us are unfamiliar with it. It may initially be diagnosed with Autism or even ADHD. To get the best treatment, the proper diagnosis has to be made. You do not want to treat problems a child does not have. You also do not want to limit their ability to learn by teaching them in a way they cannot understand. There are no real causes or risk factors of Asperger’s syndrome. It is not a disorder that typically gets worse. Although, it cannot be cured, treatment can be very helpful. A child with Asperger’s syndrome can live a relatively normal life and be successful.
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