Archive for May, 2008

History of Asperger Syndrome

Asperger’s Disorder was first described in the 1940s by Viennese pediatrician Hans Asperger who observed autistic-like behaviors and difficulties with social and communication skills in boys who had normal intelligence and language development.

Many professionals felt Asperger’s Disorder was simply a milder form of autism and used the term “high-functioning autism” to describe these individuals. Professor Uta Frith, with the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience of University College London and author of Autism and Asperger Syndrome, describes individuals with Asperger’s Disorder as “having a dash of Autism.”

Asperger’s Disorder was added to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) in 1994 as a separate disorder from autism. However, there are still many professionals who consider Asperger’s Disorder a less severe form of autism.

Add comment May 29th, 2008

Characteristics of Asperger Syndrome

The severity of symptoms and the absence of language delays distinguishes Asperger Syndrome from Autism. Children with Asperger Syndrome may be only mildly affected and frequently have good language and cognitive skills. To the untrained observer, a child with Asperger’s syndrome may just seem like a typical child behaving differently.

Children with autism are frequently seen as un-social. Although, children with Asperger Syndrome usually want to fit in and have interaction with others; they simply don’t know how to do it. They may be socially awkward, not understanding of conventional social rules, or show a lack of empathy. They may have limited eye contact, seem to be unengaged in a conversation, and not understand the use of body language.

Interests in a particular subject may border on the obsessive. Children with Asperger’s syndrome frequently like to collect categories of things, such as rocks or bottle caps. They may be proficient in knowing categories of information, such as baseball statistics or Latin names of flowers. While they may have good memory skills, they have difficulty with abstract concepts.

There is no speech delay in Asperger’s. In fact, children with Asperger’s syndrome frequently have good language skills; they simply use language in different ways. Speech patterns may be unusual, lack inflection or have a rhythmic nature.  Speech may also be overly formal, with too loud or too high of pitch. Children with Asperger Syndrome 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.

Children with Asperger Syndrome frequently have motor skill delays and may appear clumsy or awkward. Most children with Asperger’s syndrome possess average to above average intelligence.

Add comment May 28th, 2008


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