Aspergers 101

Asperger Syndrome (AS) was first diagnosed in 1940 by Hans Asperger a Viennese Dr who observed Autistic behaviors and difficulties in Social Communication Skills in boys and men with normal intelligence and language development.

AS is a neuro-biological disorder that is part of the Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Spectrum Disorders are characterized by widespread abnormalities of social interactions and communication, as well as severely restricted interests and highly repetitive behavior typically appearing in the first three years of life. Asperger Syndrome  is  slightly different  in the severity of the symptoms and the absence of language delays. Some individuals with Asperger’s Disorder may be only mildly affected and frequently have good language and cognitive skills.

Individuals with Asperger’s Disorder usually want to fit in and have interaction with others; but they simply don’t know how to do it. They may be socially awkward, not understanding of conventional social rules, or may show a lack of empathy. They may have limited eye contact, seem to be unengaged in a conversation, and not understand the use of gestures or language. Individuals may be proficient in knowing categories of information, such as baseball statistics or Latin names of flowers. While they may have good rote memory skills, they have difficulty with abstract concepts. People with AS frequently have good language skills; they simply use language in different ways. Speech patterns may be unusual, lack inflection or have a rhythmic nature or it may be formal, but too loud or high pitched. People with AS may not understand the subtleties of language, such as irony and humor, or they may not understand the give and take nature of a conversation.

Because AS can present patterns of behaviors and problems that differ widely from person to person, there isn’t a “typical” or prescribed treatment regimen. However, you may benefit from the following forms of treatment: * parent education and training * specialized educational interventions for the child * social skills training * language therapy * sensory integration training for younger children, usually performed by an occupational therapist, in which a child is desensitized to stimuli to which he is overly sensitive * psychotherapy or behavioral/cognitive therapy for older children * medications.

Many Individuals with Asperger Syndrome also have coexisting conditions and may have symptoms of the following conditions as well.  These are Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) , Anxiety Disorder  , Depression ,  and / or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)


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