Health & Medical Autism

Understanding Asperger"s Syndrome

Asperger's Syndrome was first described by an Austrian physician in the 1930s.
The official diagnostic criteria of Asperger's Syndrome accepted by The American Psychiatric Association includes impairment in social interactions; repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior without significant deficits in language development or cognitive ability.
However Asperger's Syndrome may result in social,occupational, and other areas of functioning Children with this disorder may be extremely sensitive to sudden noises and certain types of sensory input.
They may suffer from motor clumsiness.
They demonstrate an avoidance of eye contact.
Their language may be pedantic and somewhat odd.
They often talk more like an adult than a child.
They provide too much information and have trouble getting to the point.
They may be perfectionist and believe that they are incompetent at doing things.
They are poor at organization.
Good at dealing with objects, they are poor at dealing with people.
They have difficulty recognizing and expressing feelings.
They seem to lack the words to express their own feelings.
They are delayed in social maturity and have difficulty making friends.
They may exhibit intense interest in certain topics and become quite knowledgeable about these topics.
Yet they are distracted with topics that did not arouse their interest.
They are described as having a "one track mind" They can be inflexible and unable to find an alternative when one solution does not work.
They do not tolerate sudden changes in routine, such as a substitute teacher.
In those situations that may have an emotional meltdown.
They may be negative, pessimistic, and fearful of making a mistake.
The term "theory of mind" is used to describe their inability to understand the intentions of feelings of others.
They do not recognize sarcasm and may mistakenly believe that others are laughing at them.
The cause of Asperger's has not been identified.
It tends to run in families.
There is some neurological evidence that the amygdala, a structure in the limbic system of the brain associated with emotion may be abnormal, with fewer connections to the frontal lobe.
They may exhibit abnormal degrees of anger, anxiety, and sadness.
and are emotionally over-reactive.
Children with Asperger's require a toolbox of strategies and interventions to help them socially and emotionally.
Sometimes medication for anxiety, depression, and mood swings may help.
However, they also require social and emotional tools to stay calm and in control.
Affective education can help teach these children to recognize facial expressions and non-verbal cues of others.
They can benefit from being taught social skills such as eye contact and rehearsal of social situations.
("What would you do if...
?) They can be taught to label their feelings with an emotional barometer and to recognize and respond to cues that things are getting out of hand.
Solitude is the best curative for loss of emotional control.
Keeping diaries, writing e-mail, listening to music can be helpful.
Classroom accommodations are usually necessary, such as permission to leave the room when they feel themselves becoming upset.
Asperger's is not all bad.
If social demands can be minimized Asperger's adults may become highly successful as mathematicians, physicists, even corporate executives.
Some claim that Einstein demonstrated symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome.
A child with Asperger's Syndrome remarked to me that if a cure could be found, he would not agree to take it.
"I am who I am," he explained.
"Killing that part of my brain that is Asperger's would be changing my personality.

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