Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder initially dubbed as “autistic psychopathy”, was first observed in the 1940s by Dr. Asperger. It was only as late as 1981 that Asperger’s syndrome symptoms were noted as being different from those of autism.
Asperger’s Syndrome shares symptoms with autism such as impairment in social interactions, recurring behaviors, and curious interests. However, the patients of the former disorder do not suffer difficulties in verbal communication or cognition. People with Asperger’s disorder show superior intellect, extreme focus, and an uncanny understanding of math and science.
While little is known about what causes Asperger’s disorder, research points to a strong basis in heredity. Among key Asperger’s Syndrome symptoms is an obsessive fascination for one subject while faring poorly in non-verbal communication and in interactions with peers. They also display behaviors that are socially and emotionally out of place such as strange facial expressions or jerky gait and are inordinately clumsy. Other distinct Asperger’s Syndrome symptoms include the choice of peculiar words for self-expression or speech that lacks any modulation.
It is estimated that two out of ten thousand children suffer from Asperger’s disorder. Boys are four times more likely to have Asperger’s syndrome than girls. Asperger’s symptoms in children vary from that of adults. It appears that problems of social interactions and communications in childhood are accentuated through adulthood, precipitating depression and other psychiatric issues. In children, Asperger’s Syndrome is easily diagnosed in infancy by parents who observe milestone delays in motor development while noting normal to superior language development.
Diagnosing Asperger’s Syndrome is complex because of the lack of common diagnostic tools or methods. Even so, some physicians disagree with the idea of classifying Asperger’s Syndrome as distinct from autism. In addition, the symptoms present themselves differently among different people varying from mild to severe. Currently, diagnosis is solely based on the presence of a core set of Asperger’s symptoms such as:
1. atypical eye contact
3. non-responsiveness to being called
4. inability to gesture
5. poor interactions and little interest in peers
Therefore, the focus of treatment for people with Asperger’s Syndrome is to address these deficits through behavioral therapy while counseling family members. Most adults with Asperger’s disorder can pursue their chosen interests or professions successfully and avoid the onset of anxiety and depression. Additional drug therapy is advised for adults with Asperger’s disorder exhibiting auxiliary symptoms of depression.
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