Asperger syndrome (often Asperger's syndrome) is a type of autism spectrum disorder. It affects the way in which a person understands, talks and acts with other people. A person who has Asperger syndrome may not fit in well with other people, and may be unable to act like everyone else in different social situations. Neurotypical (or NT) is a term that was coined in the autistic community as a label for those other people who are not on the autism spectrum. Asperger syndrome is thought to manifest as a developmental disorder, and is not considered a mental illness. Most adults with Asperger syndrome can learn how to make friends, do useful work, and live successful lives. People with it sometimes call themselves Aspies.
People who have it will have to deal with it for the rest of their lives. However, they can try many solutions to help them and learn how to be able to reduce the impact in their life. One solution can be medication to restrict the different symptoms like aggression. The big problem with people affected by Asperger's is that they cannot understand emotions or how people think. Therapists attempt to help the person with that. They will do many activities like acting an emotion and let the Asperger people guess what it is.
Causes and management[change | change source]
Asperger syndrome may be observed and diagnosed in early childhood. No one knows exactly what causes it, but it is thought to have a genetic cause. The part of the brain which controls a person's "social behavior" (understanding and communicating with other people) may grow or function differently in a person with Asperger syndrome. Another part of the brain that may be different is the part that controls some body movement such as balance. A person with this condition may walk or act in a clumsy way and have trouble doing body actions such as sports. They may also do physical actions repetitively, such as rocking, flapping their hands, or tapping their feet. The condition seems to run in families. Parents who have Asperger syndrome often have children who have it or another kind of autism.
Asperger syndrome cannot be found by testing blood or looking at someone's body. A medical doctor needs to talk with the person and other people who know him or her well, to watch how the person moves and behaves, and to learn about the person's past. Sometimes a doctor believes by mistake that the person has schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, ADHD, or mental retardation instead. Tourette syndrome with "tics" (repetitive, uncontrolled actions like twitching, blinking, and coughing) sometimes comes with Asperger syndrome. Many people with Asperger syndrome also have ADHD and/or OCD. It has been estimated that beyond half of the people with the syndrome, also carries some other type of syndrome, disorder, disability, disease, or illness. The MSD Manual says "strong evidence supports a genetic component".
People who have Asperger syndrome have normal to high intelligence. As children, they may need special help at home and school to learn social behavior. The syndrome cannot be made better by taking medicine. People who have this condition are sometimes given medicine to help them with depression, which is often experienced by people with the syndrome.
People with Asperger syndrome can have a hard time fitting in with other people. This social awkwardness has been called "active but odd". Adults who have it usually learn enough "coping skills" to act in a way that seems normal, but often with a few differences. Most people with the syndrome can communicate clearly with friends and family. They may have more difficulty in communicating with new people. People who carry the syndrome can sometimes seem rude or uninterested during conversations, without meaning anything wrong. They may also get stressed or unsettled when things does not go their way.
Characteristics[change | change source]
Asperger's syndrome characteristics include:
- Engaging in long, one-sided conversations, without noticing if the listener is listening or trying to change the subject
- Displaying unusual nonverbal communication, such as lack of eye contact, few facial expressions, or awkward body postures and gestures
- Showing an intense obsession with one or two specific, narrow subjects, such as baseball statistics, train schedules, weather or snakes
- Appearing not to understand, empathize with, or be sensitive to others' feelings
- Having a hard time "reading" other people or understanding humor
- Speaking in a voice that is monotonous, rigid, or unusually fast
- May prefer to be alone
- Gets stuck in their own heads
- Has strange thoughts and prejudices about the outside world
- Shows problems in meeting new people
- Does not enjoy instant changes
- Feels uncomfortable around people, usually strangers
- Has an eye for details and notices the small things
- Follows their own habits, routines, and traditions, for example; always buying the same type of food and drink, or listening to the same song over and over again
Asperger syndrome is noticeable when the person acts differently in social situations. Their social disabilities can have different levels. Not all people with Asperger syndrome have the same level of it. This characteristic is not the only one. Someone who dislike people in general do not necessarily have Aspergers. Other characteristics that can be identified are that people with Asperger hate any changes in their routine. They also dislike having eye contact. Most of the time they will try to avoid it and look away. Usually people with Asperger syndrome have less facial expression than anybody else. There are many characteristics, and if someone only has some of them then they likely don't have Asperger's. Commonly, people with the syndrome tends to hum or pronounce different sounds to themselves, which they have heard in their surroundings, such as a reporter's voice, a man on the radio, lyrics from songs, words, things they have read, or what people around them usually say. They may repeatedly mention these words or phrases again and again.
History[change | change source]
In the 1940s, a doctor named Hans Asperger studied some children that were different from most other children that he knew, but were like each other. He called them "little professors" because he thought that they were interesting and wrote a book about them. Dr. Asperger thought his "little professors" had a different sort of personality.
In the 1980s Dr. Lorna Wing made up the name "Asperger syndrome" for people with high-functioning autism after research into Hans Asperger's work.
In 1994 Asperger syndrome was added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV).
In 2013 Asperger syndrome was removed from the DSM.
Asperger's is one of many separate ICD Autistic Disorders that is still diagnosable using the ICD but can be found in the DSM as Autism Spectrum Disorder or Autistic Disorder; and is often referred to as Autistic Spectrum Disorder for clarity. Providers that use the DSM can; document and reference your ICD Autistic Disorder, provide you the additional DSM Autistic Disorder, and or provide a combination of the two labels (e.g Autistic Spectrum Disorder "Asperger's" 299.00 (F84.0), With Specific Learning Disorder, Mild).
Statistics[change | change source]
It is widely discussed how common the syndrome is, as there are figures that show very different numbers. But, it probably lies between 1 in every 250, all the way up to 1 in every 10,000. A 2003 review of epidemiological studies of children found autism rates ranging from 0.03 to 4.84 per 1,000, with the ratio of autism to Asperger syndrome ranging from 1.5:1 to 16:1.
References[change | change source]
- The Nemours Foundation. "An Autism Spectrum Disorder" Archived 2013-07-19 at the Wayback Machine, A Children's Health System.
- "What Is Asperger Syndrome?". Autism Speaks. Retrieved 29 January 2022.
- Mayo Clinic. "Alternative medicine", Asperger's syndrome, London, 27 October 2005. Retrieved on 27 October 2005.
- McPartland J & Klin A. 2006. Asperger's syndrome. Adolescent Medicine Clinics 17 (3): 771–88, abstract xiii. 
- Foster B, King BH 2003. Asperger syndrome: to be or not to be?. Current Opinion in Pediatrics 15 (5): 491–94. 
- "Autism Spectrum Disorders – Pediatrics" in Merck Manuals Professional Edition. Retrieved 26 January 2019. 
- Towbin KE (January 2003). "Strategies for pharmacologic treatment of high functioning autism and Asperger syndrome". Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America. 12 (1): 23–45. doi:10.1016/S1056-4993(02)00049-4. PMID 12512397.
- "Mayo Clinic staff".
- "What Is Asperger Syndrome?" -. The National Autistic Society, n.d. Web. 12 May 2014.
- Tsai, Luke Y.; Ghaziuddin, Mohammad (1 February 2014). "DSM-5 ASD Moves Forward into the Past". Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 44 (2): 321–330. doi:10.1007/s10803-013-1870-3. PMID 23807202. S2CID 3515088 – via Springer Link.
- MedicineNet, Inc. "Definition of Asperger syndrome", Health News of the Week.
- Galanopoulos A, Robertson D, Woodhouse E (4 January 2016). "The assessment of autism spectrum disorders in adults". Advances in Autism. 2 (1): 31–40. doi:10.1108/AIA-09-2015-0017.
- Fombonne E, Tidmarsh L (January 2003). "Epidemiologic data on Asperger disorder". Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America. 12 (1): 15–21, v–vi. doi:10.1016/S1056-4993(02)00050-0. PMID 12512396.
- Fombonne E (2007). "Epidemiological surveys of pervasive developmental disorders". In Volkmar FR (ed.). Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 33–68. ISBN 978-0-521-54957-8.
Other websites[change | change source]
- WebMD Reference pages for Asperger syndrome
- Neurodiversity website History and information on people with Asperger syndrome
- Wrong Planet designed for individuals (and parents / professionals of those) with Autism, Asperger Syndrome, ADHD, PDDs, and other neurological differences.
- Aspies Central A friendly community for Asperger, Autism & other associates even for those not on the spectrum.
- Asperclick A forum specifically for AS, but open to other ASDs.