Asperger’s syndrome is a condition that is now identified as an autism spectrum disorder. It is known as a high functioning disorder, where the symptoms are less severe.
Usually Asperger’s syndrome is diagnosed early on between the ages of 5-9, but can be diagnosed as early as 3 years old. Boys are 3-4 times more likely to have Asperger’s syndrome than girls.
Symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome
Symptoms from Asperger’s syndrome start early. The first few symptoms that are noticed are no eye contact when being talked to. Other symptoms include being awkward in social situations, unsure of how to respond when being talked to, and missing social cues, such as the crossing of arms when someone else is angry.
Someone with Asperger’s syndrome may also not be able to understand sarcasm. When they speak they may speak almost like a robot in a flat tone with no emotion.
Someone with Asperger’s syndrome may also show interest in one topic, to the point where it can be hyperfocused or obsessive. They are very smart on this one topic, but it can get in the way of other activities or day to day life.
Repeating themselves over and over or having repetitive movements are other symptoms.
Disliking change, being hypersensitive or hyposensitive, clumsy, or having exaggerated emotional responses are other symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome.
Diagnosing Asperger’s Syndrome
A medical professional will have to diagnose your child with Asperger’s syndrome. Diagnosis can take time and you may have to meet with multiple different specialists to get a diagnosis. Specialists who deal with Asperger’s syndrome are pediatricians, child psychologists, neurologists, and therapists.
Your doctor may ask you questions like what symptoms is your child experiencing and when did they start, when did your child learn to speak and how do they communicate, are they hyper focused on a subject, do they have friends, how do they interact with others? Then your doctor will observe your child in different situations to see how they react and behave.
Asperger’s Syndrome Treatment Options
There is no cure of Asperger’s syndrome. Treatment is based on the child’s needs. No treatment plan will look the same for two children who both have Asperger’s syndrome. It is very specific to each child.
As a parent with a child who has Asperger’s syndrome it is important to get the right education and training so you can help with techniques at home.
Social skills training is important for someone with Asperger’s syndrome. Social skills training can help with one on one interactions, or group interactions. Your child will learn how to interact, express themselves, usually by learning skills that are modeled for them.
Speech-language therapy can help with communication skills. It will help your child add tone and emotion when they speak instead of speaking in a flat tone. It can also help improve 2 way conversations, as well as teach your child how to keep 2 way conversations going. Speech-language therapy can also help your child learn how to understand social cues.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy can help change the way you think. This can be very beneficial in learning how to control emotions and repetitive behaviors. This can help with outbursts, meltdowns, and obsessions. In most forms of therapy the therapist will use positive reinforcement when behavior that is wanted is achieved, while ignoring or not praising behavior that is unwanted.
There is no medication that can stop the side effects of Asperger’s syndrome. There are some medications that can help with anxiety, and depression that sometimes occurs in people who have Asperger’s syndrome. Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, antipsychotic drugs, or stimulant medicines may be prescribed in combination with other treatment options of Asperger’s syndrome.
Some children who have Asperger’s syndrome tend to struggle at school. There are different approaches you can try if your child is struggling. You can look into special education for them, or an individual education program if their school offers that. An individual education program may allow your child to have a regular daily routine, milestone academic goals, study guides or customized lesson plans, social skills, and self control techniques. Some children will do really well in school with no problem at all. It all depends on your child and the severity of their condition.
Adults with Asperger’s syndrome can hold regular full time occupations. Adults with Asperger’s show great attention to detail and can focus on something for a long amount of time. Good career choices for those with Asperger’s are computer science, accounting or engineering. All of these are jobs where attention to the details is critical.
With therapies and treatment plans a person with Asperger’s syndrome can live a full life.
Asperger's Syndrome can complicate life but the symptom of hyper focus is also a benefit! #HealthSurgeon
READ MORE: How Emotional Intelligence Breeds Success