What Is Asperger’s Syndrome?
Asperger’s syndrome, also called Asperger’s disorder, is a type of pervasive developmental disorder (PDD). PDDs are a group of conditions that involve delays in the development of many basic skills, most notably the ability to socialize with others, to communicate, and to use imagination. Although Asperger’s syndrome is similar in some ways to autism. Children with Asperger’s syndrome typically function better than do those with autism. In addition, children with Asperger’s syndrome generally have normal intelligence and near-normal language development, although they may develop problems communicating as they get older.
How is Asperger’s diagnosed?
Asperger’s syndrome often remains undiagnosed until a child or adult begins to have serious difficulties in school, the workplace or their personal lives. Indeed, many adults with Asperger’s syndrome receive their diagnosis when seeking help for related issues such as anxiety or depression. Diagnosis tends to center primarily on difficulties with social interactions.
Children with Asperger’s syndrome tend to show typical or even exceptional language development. However, many tend to use their language skills inappropriately or akwardly in conversations or social situations such as interacting with their peers. Often, the symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome are confused with those of other behavioral issues such as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The following behaviors are often associated with Asperger’s syndrome. However, they are seldom all present in any one individual and vary widely in degree:
- limited or inappropriate social interactions
- “robotic” or repetitive speech
- challenges with nonverbal communication (gestures, facial expression, etc.) coupled with average to above average verbal skills
- tendency to discuss self rather than others
- inability to understand social/emotional issues or nonliteral phrases
- lack of eye contact or reciprocal conversation
- obsession with specific, often unusual, topics
- one-sided conversations
- awkward movements and/or mannerisms