About Asperger syndrome
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th edn, text revision) (DSM-IV-TR) of the American Psychiatric Association, asperger is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD),l ike: classic autism, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified.
Asperger syndrome is a form of autism, which is a lifelong disability that affects how a person makes sense of the world, processes information and relates to other people. Autism is often described as a 'spectrum disorder' because the condition affects people in many different ways and to varying degrees.
Asperger syndrome is mostly a 'hidden disability'. This means that you can't tell that someone has the condition from their outward appearance. People with the condition have difficulties in three main areas. They are:
- social communication
- social interaction
- social imagination.
Three main areas of difficulty
The characteristics of Asperger syndrome vary from one person to another but are generally divided into three main groups.
- Difficulty with social communication
People with Asperger syndrome sometimes find it difficult to express themselves emotionally and socially. For example, they may:
- Have difficulty understanding gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice
- Have difficulty knowing when to start or end a conversation and choosing topics to talk about
- Use complex words and phrases but may not fully understand what they mean be very literal in what they say and can have difficulty understanding jokes, metaphor and sarcasm.
- Difficulty with social interaction
Many people with Asperger syndrome want to be sociable but have difficulty with initiating and sustaining social relationships, which can make them very anxious.
- Struggle to make and maintain friendships
- Not understand the unwritten 'social rules' that most of us pick up without thinking.
- find other people unpredictable and confusing
- Become withdrawn and seem uninterested in other people, appearing almost aloof .
- Behave in what may seem an inappropriate manner.
- Difficulty with social imagination
People with Asperger syndrome can be imaginative in the conventional use of the word (for example, many are accomplished writers, artists and musicians) ; but they can have difficulty with social imagination. This can include:
- Imagining alternative outcomes to situations and finding it hard to predict what will happen next.
- Understanding or interpreting other peoples thoughts, feelings or actions.
- Having a limited range of imaginative activities, which can be pursued rigidly and repetitively.
- Some children with Asperger syndrome may find it difficult to play 'let's pretend' games or prefer subjects rooted in logic and systems, such as mathematics.
Characteristics of Asperger syndrome
The characteristics of Asperger syndrome vary from one person to another but as well as the three main areas of difficulty, people with the condition may have:
- Love of routines: To try and make the world less confusing, people with Asperger syndrome may have rules and rituals (ways of doing things) which they insist upon. Young children, for example, may insist on always walking the same way to school. In class, they may get upset if there is a sudden change to the timetable.
- Special interests: People with Asperger syndrome may develop an intense, sometimes obsessive, interest in a hobby or collecting. Sometimes these interests are lifelong; in other cases, one interest is replaced by an unconnected interest. For example, a person with Asperger syndrome may focus on learning all there is to know about trains or computers. Some are exceptionally knowledgeable in their chosen field of interest.
- Sensory difficulties: People with Asperger syndrome may have sensory difficulties. These can occur in one or all of the senses. The degree of difficulty varies from one individual to another. Most commonly, an individual's senses are either intensified (over-sensitive) or underdeveloped (under-sensitive).
What causes Asperger syndrome?
The exact causeof Asperger syndrome is still being investigated. However, research suggests that a combination of factors - genetic and environmental - may account for changes in brain development.
It affects more boys than girls (4/1)
Asperger syndrome is not caused by a person's upbringing, their social circumstances and is not the fault of the individual with the condition.
-Is there a cure? There is currently no 'cure' and no specific treatment for Asperger syndrome. Children with Asperger syndrome become adults with Asperger syndrome
Symptoms during childhood
- Not pick up on social cues and may lack inborn social skills, such as being able to read others' body language, start or maintain a conversation, and take turns talking.
- Dislike any changes in routines. –
- Appear to lack empathy.
- Be unable to recognize subtle differences in speech tone, pitch, and accent that alter the meaning of others’ speech. They don’t understand a joke or may take a sarcastic comment literally.
- Have a formal style of speaking that is advanced for his or her age.
- Avoid eye contact or stare at others.
- Have unusual facial expressions or postures.
- Be preoccupied with only one or few interests, which he or she may be very knowledgeable about. They may show an unusual interest in certain topics such as snakes, names of stars, or dinosaurs.
- Have delayed motor development. He or she may have an awkward walk. Handwriting is often poor.
- -Have heightened sensitivity and become overstimulated by loud noises, lights, or strong tastes or textures
Although the condition is in some ways similar to autism, a child with Asperger's syndrome typically has normal language and intellectual development. Also, those with Asperger's syndrome typically make more of an effort than those with autismto make friends and engage in activities with others.
Asperger and other conditions
Many children with Asperger's syndrome also have coexisting conditions and may have symptoms of these conditions also. They include:
- Depression, especially in adolescents.
- DSM-IV-TR Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th edition- text revision)
- APA (American Psychiatric Association )is the main professional
organization of psychiatrists and trainee psychiatrists in the United States
- DISORDER: illness, disease (mental)
- SYNDROME: a combination of medical problems that commonly go together, which might show the existence of a particular disease or mental condition.
- SYMPTOM: any feeling of illness or physical or mental change which is caused by a particular disease.
- AUTISM: mental disorder consisting in a failure to develop social abilities, language and other communication skills to the usual level.
- RETT SYNDROME: one specific neurodevelopmental disorder that almost exclusively affects females. Childs have small hands and feet and a deceleration of the rate of head growth degenerative .
- CHILDHOOD DISINTEGRATIVE DISORDER: is a condition in which children develop normally through age 3 or 4. Then, over a few months, children lose language, motor, social, and other skills that they already learned.
- PERVASIVE DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS refers to a group of developmental conditions that involve delayed or impaired communication and social skills, behaviors, and cognitive skills (learning).
- Why did you choose this topic?
- I once worked with a bunch of autistic kids and some of them were identified as having Asperger Syndrom, their skills were very striking!