Asperger Syndrome

by emma morgan

Overview

Asperger Syndrome (also called Asperger's and AD) is an autism spectrum disorder, also known as Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDDs), characterized by a difficulty with socialization and communication, as well as repetitive patterns of behavior and fixed interests. This disorder is from present infancy or early childhood, and is not ethnicity or age specific. Children with Asperger's function better than those with autism, and generally have a normal level of intelligence.

Symptoms

Common symptoms of Asperger's include atypical speech patterns (such as a lack of rhythm and odd inflection), poor socialization, and clumsiness. Children with AD generally have narrow interests and gather a lot of knowledge about them. This interest in certain things tends to be very intense and can cause difficulty relating with others. It also often results in exceptional talent in specific things like music or math. Additionally, they tend to display certain tics, like hand wringing and finger pulling. Difficulty with showing empathy is also a characteristic of someone with Asperger's. People with this disorder often develop anxiety or depression.

Diagnosis

It can be difficult to diagnose Asperger's because screening instruments often vary in criteria. The first stage of the diagnosing process is a developmental screening during a “well-child” check-up with a family doctor or pediatrician. The second stage is a comprehensive evaluation to possibly rule out Asperger's. This stage consists of genetic assessment and an evaluation of communication skills, IQ, and style of learning.

Causes

The exact cause of AD is unknown. Some believe it is related to brain abnormalities, while others think it is has hereditary factors.

Treatment

There is no cure or medication for Asperger's Syndrome, but treatment often comes in the form of therapy and interventions. The treatment is tailored to meet each child's needs and can come in the form of social skills training, cognitive behavioral therapy, and meditation.

Some Statistics

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• The ratio of boys to girls with Asperger Syndrome is 4:1.
• Different studies have shown a wide variation in the number of people with Asperger's. In the U.S. and Canada the number ranges from 1 in 250 to 1 in 10,000. In places like Sweden, the number is estimated to be 1 in 300.
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• The prevalence in ASD has steadily risen over the last decade.
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• An estimated 30-50% of adults with AD are never evaluated or correctly diagnosed. Even then, they often aren't diagnosed until they seek help for issues like depression and anxiety (which are often a symptom of Asperger’s).

Children with Asperger's

Aspergers Children Speak Out

Reflection

Before I did this project I thought people with Asperger’s were really smart people with poor social skills. After doing research I learned that while they have a lot of knowledge about something, their level of intelligence is usually average. After looking up statistics, I was surprised at the lack of information about this disorder. For example, the number of people with it ranges from 1 in 250 to 1 in 10,000 depending on where the information is from. Also, I was surprised at how high the ratio of boys to girls is.