Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

What Causes Asperger's Syndrome?

Thursday, 15 Jul 2010 04:17 PM

Question: My son has been possibly diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. Do you know what causes it and the best way to treat it?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Asperger's Syndrome is a developmental disorder characterized by difficulties with social interaction and behavioral characteristics, which include repetitive and stereotyped behaviors and interests. This disorder has a genetic basis, and there is no known specific treatment. There is some evidence this may also be rarely induced by maternal exposure during the first eight weeks of pregnancy to agents that cause birth defects.

As a form of autism, treatment is focused on making the patient aware of their condition and surroundings. Early intervention is preferred. Asperger’s is usually recognizable between the ages of three to ten years of age, and children are often misdiagnosed initially as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).

Pharmaceutical therapy is directed toward the associated conditions such as anxiety, inattention, aggressiveness, and depression. Drugs such as risperidone and olanzapine can reduce some symptoms of AS, specifically impulsivity, aggression, and repetitive behaviors. Some SSRI (serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, and sertraline) have been effective for modifying repetitive behaviors as well as depression.

These have potentially serious side effects, and require professional supervision and guidance. It must be remembered that children with Asperger’s Syndrome often have difficulties identifying internal moods and emotions, so expert pediatric psychiatric consultation is essential. Cognitive behavioral therapy (a specialized form of psychotherapy) is useful as well as occupational therapy and physical therapy for difficulties with poor sensory integration and motor co-ordination.

Speech therapy may help develop normal conversation abilities. Social skill training and intensive vocational rehabilitation is very important for integration into the workplace. Behavioral therapy is extremely useful, and this can start very early at home by supportive parents.

I encourage you to view this condition as a complex syndrome rather than a disease that must be cured. There is no ideal brain configuration, and any deviation from the norm does not need to be pathological. We need to develop tolerance for "neurodiversity" (a basis for the autistic rights and autistic pride movements).

© HealthDay

1Like our page
Thursday, 15 Jul 2010 04:17 PM
Newsmax Inc.

The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read Newsmax Terms and Conditions of Service.

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved