Asperger's Syndrome (AS)

By: Emilie Webster

What system of the body does this illness affect?

Asperger’s syndrome is a condition much like autism, but much less severe. This condition changes how the person would normally act around others, how they react to certain things, and especially what the person thinks about. Asperger’s affects the central nervous system also known as the brain.

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This is a picture of the brain which is where the body is effected by the condition. The frontal lobe is the part of the brain that controls reasoning, planning, parts of speech, movement, emotions, and problem solving.

What makes people with Asperger's different?

A normal central nervous system is supposed to process sounds, tastes, feeling, sight, and smell. People with Asperger’s have a functioning brain and they can do everything a person without the condition can do. The big differences is the structural build of their brain compared to others. Their brain functions differently because of it and that’s why they act differently than people without the illness.


What Is Asperger's Syndrome?

Who is effected?

It is estimated that 1 in 300 - 1 in 1,000 people have Asperger’s syndrome and 80% of the people with the condition are boys. It is hard to tell which people have the illness because the person might just be immature. The condition usually starts between the ages of early childhood and late teens. Another study says the ratio of boys to girls is 4:1. Girls with the illness act much differently than boys with the illness. Scientists believe this is because boys can tend to behave much more aggressively. Girls with the disorder usually act much quieter and act as if they are invisible. About 1.1 percent of the population has an Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
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Where does this condition come from?

Scientists think that this illness may be genetic, meaning it runs in the family. A third of people with this condition have parents with similar symptoms or a similar illness. Scientists also believe that, because of unusual movement of cells during the baby’s development, it might affect the baby’s behavior when he/she grows up. Which is mostly an accident, but it could also be because of the mother and what she does during pregnancy.

How is it diagnosed?

This illness is hard to diagnose because there is no specific technology that shows they have Asperger’s Syndrome. But with the help of AS or other ASD’s specialists, a number of neurological tests could be run to see how they act differently. Another good way of diagnosing the person is to see how they act around other individuals with language skills and physical interaction skills.

The signs and symptoms

There are many behavioral symptoms a person with this condition may have. They may stand too close and not use eye contact, may talk too loud in the wrong moments or talk too long when they don’t need to, they sometimes have trouble making friends because they miss social cues, sometimes they may have a learning disability in subjects at school, they may have a big interest in a certain thing such as maps or trains, handwriting may be so-so, and they usually like to stick to a routine. For example, if they like eating pizza at a certain restaurant and their family tries something new, they might become disappointed and not want to eat the new pizza. Another sign of the disorder is repetitive movements such as hand flapping or saying something they thought was interesting over and over again.
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This is a picture of a child deep in thought over some magnets. This is sign of Asperger's because he seems to be focused on that and that only.

Is there a treatment?

There is no cure for this condition but there are several programs that could help the person a little more. Social skills training, speech therapy, co-existing with other children, and physical therapy are good examples that may help the child depending on what they have trouble with. Another huge part of helping the child is the type of parenting they have. Behavioral techniques taught at home would also be very helpful for the child.


Prognosis

If the person uses the right coping methods throughout their life, they could definitely live on their own and be successful in the workforce. Not only that, they can also be athletic, have friends, and have a love life. The illness might hold them back, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t live their life independently.
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This is a picture of a 67 year old named Temple Grandin. She is a professor at Colorado State University, has an American Ph.D. of animal science, a best-selling author, and an Autism activist. She has Autism but that did not hold her back from being extremely successful.

My connections

One of my best friends since I was very young has Autism. His condition is much worse than kids with Asperger’s, but he has very similar symptoms. When I looked up the signs and symptoms I found many that reminded me of him. He has common interests in video games and drawing and he is very good at these two things. I decided to study Asperger’s as my project because I wanted to understand the Autism Spectrum a little better so I could know what my friend is going through.
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Works cited:


Anatomography. Cerebrum - Frontal Lobe - Lateral View. 2012. N.p.


Attwood, Tony. "TONY ATTWOOD Answers Some Common Questions About Asperger Syndrome." OASIS @ MAAP -. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Jan. 2015.


Bethesda, MD 20892. "Asperger Syndrome Fact Sheet." : National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Office of Communications and Public Liaison National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke National Institutes of Health, n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2015.


Cambridge University Press. "The Epidemiology of Asperger Syndrome: A Total Population Study." OASIS @ MAAP. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, Vol. 34, No. 8, Pp. 1327-1350, Nov. 1993. Web. 19 Jan. 2015.


Jurvetson, Steve. Temple Grandin. 2010. Rain Man's Rainbow, n.p.


Mike, Wade. "Asperger's Diagnosis Comes As Big Relief To Susan Boyle." Times, The (United Kingdom) (2013): 4.Newspaper Source. Web. 21 Jan. 2015.


Poindexter Propellerhead. Riboflavin Penicillinamide. 2007. N.p.


"What Is Asperger's Disorder?." Harvard Mental Health Letter 16.4 (1999): 8. MAS Ultra - School Edition. Web. 21 Jan. 2015.


Tom Johnson posted this video on youtube:

What Is Asperger's Syndrome. Perf. Dr. Sanjay Gupta. CNN, 2012. Youtube Video.