Asperger’s Syndrome

Asperger’s Syndrome

        Asperger’s Syndrome, viewed as a separate condition before, is now part of the autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This change came about in 2013 when the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) changed its classification.   Medical professionals classify this condition as a high-functioning type of ASD. The symptoms of Asperger’s are less severe than other conditions on the ASD. DSM-5 also includes a new condition, known as social pragmatic communication disorder.   Few symptoms of the pragmatic communication disorder overlap the symptoms of Asperger’s. Medical professionals diagnose a person with Asperger’s if they have face problems with writing and talking, but have normal intelligence.    

What Does Asperger’s Syndrome Involve?

  Asperger’s Syndrome involves:  
  • Trouble with social interactions
  • Limited interests
  • Distinctive strengths
  • Wish for sameness

What Are the Strengths of Asperger’s Syndrome?

  The strengths of Asperger’s Syndrome include:  
  • Extraordinary persistence and focus
  • Attention to detail
  • Skill for distinguishing patterns

What Are the Challenges of Asperger’s Syndrome?

  The challenges of Asperger’s Syndrome include:  
  • Hypersensitivity to sounds, tastes, lights, and more
  • Trouble with communicating and understanding a conversation
  • Trouble with nonverbal communication skills, such as distance, tone, loudness, and more
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Uncoordinated movements or clumsiness

What Are the Symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome?

  The following are symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome:  
  • Unable to make friends or maintain friendships
  • Isolation or minimal interaction with people in social gatherings
  • Unable to make eye contact or tend to stare at others
  • Unable to interpret gestures
  • Unable to recognize irony, sarcasm, and humor
  • Unable to express empathy and communicate and control emotions
  • Lack of common sense
  • Fascination with specific subjects
  • Interpret information as literal
  • Prefer to follow a strict routine
  • Tend to engage in one-sided conversation about themselves

How Do Doctors Diagnose Asperger’s Syndrome?

  Medical professionals diagnose Asperger’s Syndrome by performing a multi-disciplinary diagnostic team, which includes a speech and language therapist, psychiatrist, pediatrician, and/or psychologist. Since Asperger’s Syndrome varies from person to person, it is difficult to reach a diagnosis. Therefore, medical professionals tend to diagnose children with Asperger’s Syndrome later with some getting diagnosed with it when they are an adult.      

Asperger’s Syndrome and Treatment Options

    Asperger’s syndrome is characterized as the distinct autism spectrum disorder. People suffering from this syndrome usually have normal to above-average intelligence. However, they usually face difficulties in terms of social interactions. They often have absorbing pervasive interests in some special topics.   The degree of symptoms’ severity varies among different affected individuals. There are some abnormalities in the use and interpretation of language, although language development remains normal.   Asperger’s syndrome is the group of neurodevelopment disorders affecting an individual’s behavior, communication and language use along with social interaction patterns. Following are some of the commonly associate behaviors with Asperger’s syndrome:
  • Repetitive and robotic speech
  • Inappropriate and limited social interactions
  • Difficulty with non-verbal communication
  • Inability to understand non-literal phrases along with emotional/social issues
  • Obsession with unusual, specific topics
  • Awkward mannerism or movement
  • Lack of eye contact or even reciprocal conversation

Treatment Options for Asperger’s Syndrome

  There is no best and single treatment for Asperger's syndrome. In most cases, cognitive behavioral therapy seems to be most helpful in controlling emotions, repetitive behavior and obsession along with learning social skills.   There are some educational, groups and social programs that help patients’ of Asperger’s syndrome to learn adaptive and social activities through highly structured activities. In addition to different behavioral interventions, patients’ affected by this syndrome are also helped by medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), stimulants and antipsychotics to treat associated issues like depression, anxiety, and ADHD and hyperactivity.   The patient’s physician may also recommend different therapies to cope with Asperger’s syndrome. So the treatment options include medication, therapy, alternative approaches, and others. Some of the commonly performed therapies include;
  • Medication therapy
  • Occupational therapy/sensory integration
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Speech-language and social skills training therapy
  • Anger management and others.
Nonetheless, just like any other autism spectrum disorder, the sooner a patient starts with the treatment, the easier it becomes to manage Asperger’s.