Aspergers Syndrome is a milder form of autistic disorder. Both conditions are part of a larger group of neurological disorders known in the US as Pervasive Developmental Disorders, or PDD for short. The 2 most common symptoms are eccentric behavior and self-imposed social isolation. Sometimes speech is affected as well as gait and motor skills. Your child may also be exclusively focused on a particular area of interest, such as cars or astronomy. The social isolation comes from the child wanting to know everything about his or her area of interest and little else. Conversations are usually focused only on that area as well.
Experts believe that Aspergers and autism have underlying biological causes, but are not clear yet on what those causes are. They do know that there are certain brain structure abnormalities, but do not know why they occur.
There is no definitive test for Aspergers, but there are certain patterns, including:
* Significant impairment in social interaction, as demonstrated by: – impaired nonverbal communication – failure to develop age-appropriate peer relationships – lack of shared enjoyment of activities/surroundings with others – unable to reciprocate socially and/or emotionally
* Repeated patterns of behaviour or interest, such as: – abnormal intensity of interest in one or two specific areas – rigid rituals that serve no functional purpose – repetitive mannerisms, such as hand or finger flapping – persistently preoccupied with parts of objects
* No significant delay in language
* No significant delay in cognitive development or learning of age-appropriate self-care skills
If your child meets one or more of the above criteria, then your doctor may suspect Aspergers.
There aren’t any treatments for Aspergers that will make it “go away.” However, by using a combination of approaches that address the three core symptoms of the disorder (poor communication skills, obsessive or repetitive routines and physical clumsiness); you can help your child live a fairly normal life.