What Is Asperger’s Syndrome?
Asperger's syndrome (AS) belongs to the group of neurodevelopmental disorders known as autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). ASDs include autism, Asperger’s syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and other pervasive developmental disorders. Asperger's Syndrome can be considered as a mild form of autistic spectrum disorder and people with this condition generally have higher functioning. People with AS can have difficulties with social interaction, engage in repetitive behavior, can be adamant and tend to be obsessed with rules. People with AS can be socially awkward but they generally have average or above-average IQ, they can do well academically and professionally.
Asperger's Syndrome tends to persist throughout life. It cannot be cured but difficulties related to the condition can be managed with appropriate support. In order to improve the child's social interaction and communication, early detection and intervention are necessary.
What Are the Symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome?
AS causes different symptoms in every patient. But it most commonly results in the following symptoms:
Social communication and interaction difficulties
Preference for routine like doing the same thing every day, repetitive behavior like switching the lights on and off a certain number of times, and knocking on a door a certain way.
Difficulty to interpret emotional issues if they are not expressed explicitly.
Hypersensitivity to sounds, lights, etc.
Difficulty in viewing a situation from another person’s perspective.
Getting into a conflict with others over relatively minor issues.
Emotional outbursts relate to difficulties in coping with emotional situations.
Repetitive way of talking, formal use of language, etc.
Difficulty in maintaining appropriate eye contact while talking.
Difficulty in understanding gestures and body language.
Difficulties with fine motor skills like tying shoelaces, etc.
Clumsy with uncoordinated movements.
More susceptible to anxiety and depression.
Some people with AS can have an excellent vocabulary, extensive knowledge about things and topics that interest them. Some have the ability to focus on tiny details and patterns which are not readily apparent to others. These strengths can make them excellent problem solvers and do well in their chosen fields.
What Causes Asperger’s Syndrome?
The exact cause of AS is still not known. Hereditary factors and environmental factors like toxins, chemicals, and viruses have also been found to increase the risk of this disease. It is known to run in families. Boys are more susceptible than girls.
How Is Asperger’s Syndrome Diagnosed?
There is no specific investigation like a blood test or brain scan to diagnose AS. Diagnosis is made by a detailed interview with the person, developmental history from parents (in younger patients) and clinical observation. Specific questionnaires and observation tools aid in confirming the diagnosis.
ASDs are increasingly diagnosed during childhood. Pediatrician or Child Psychiatrist usually are involved. The doctor will take a complete history which will include a child’s behavior when the symptoms started, what was the first symptom noticed, developmental history including social and language milestones.
If you feel that you or your child show features of AS, it is best you consult a psychiatrist for appropriate assessment.
After assessing how you interact socially and other symptoms, your doctor will understand how these symptoms are affecting your day to day life. Doctor will also rule out any underlying health condition that can cause similar symptoms. AS can commonly be mistaken for anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or hyperactivity, so a proper diagnosis is crucial.
How Is Asperger's Syndrome Treated?
As this syndrome causes different symptoms in all patients, there is no fixed treatment. The doctor will try various therapies until he or she finds the one that helps the patient. The treatment options include:
Your child will be able to manage and overcome both social and communication challenges with the right treatment. Most adults with Asperger’s syndrome are smarter than most and live an almost normal life if proper management. For more information on ways to manage the symptoms, consult a professionally trained and experienced psychiatrist online now.
Frequently Asked Questions