What is asperger's syndrome?

Asperger's syndrome

Asperger's syndrome is a disorder that makes it hard to understand how to behave in social situations. People with Asperger's may not recognize verbal and nonverbal cues or understand normal social rules, such as taking turns talking or recognizing personal space. Both Asperger's syndrome and autism belong to the group of disorders called autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).

What are the symptoms of Asperger's syndrome?

Asperger's syndrome is usually noticed at age 3 or later. Symptoms vary, so no two children are the same. Children with Asperger's:

  • Have a very hard time relating to others. They lack instincts to help them express their feelings and to notice others' feelings.
  • May be bothered by loud noises, lights, or strong tastes or textures.
  • Like fixed routines. Change is hard for them.
  • May not recognize verbal and nonverbal cues or understand social norms. For example, they may stare at others or not make eye contact.
  • May have speech that's flat and lacks tone, pitch, and accent. Or they may speak in a formal style.
  • May be clumsy or have unusual facial expressions, postures, and gestures.
  • May have poor handwriting or have trouble with other motor skills, such as riding a bike.
  • May have only one or a few intense interests, such as snakes or star names. They may draw very detailed pictures.

How is Asperger's syndrome treated?

Treatment for Asperger's will be based on your child's symptoms. Treatment may change often so that it's most useful for your child.

Doctors, teachers, and mental health counselors can help your child improve his or her behavior and build social and learning skills. School programs, job training, and counseling can help too.

Federal law requires public schools to have programs for people ages 3 through 21 with special needs. This includes those with Asperger's. Contact your school district to find out what services are available for your child.

Many children with Asperger's syndrome also have other conditions, such as ADHD or depression. Those children may need other treatments, such as medicine, for those conditions.

How is Asperger's syndrome diagnosed?

If you are concerned that your child might have Asperger's syndrome, talk to your child's doctor. He or she will ask you about your child's development and ask if other people have noticed your child's social problems.

The doctor may refer you to a specialist to confirm or rule out Asperger's syndrome. The specialist may test your child's learning style, speech and language, IQ, social and motor skills, and more.

Asperger's syndrome is usually diagnosed during childhood. But an adult can be diagnosed with Asperger's or autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

What causes Asperger's syndrome?

The exact cause of Asperger's syndrome isn't known. It tends to run in families, so researchers are doing studies to look for a genetic cause. It's more common in males than in females.

What is Asperger's syndrome?

Asperger's syndrome is a developmental disorder that makes it very hard to interact with other people. A child with Asperger's syndrome may find it hard to make friends because he or she is socially awkward.

People with Asperger's syndrome have some traits of autism. For example, they may have poor social skills, prefer routine, and not like change. But unlike those who have autism, children with Asperger's syndrome usually start to talk before 2 years of age, when speech normally starts to develop in other children.

Asperger's syndrome is a lifelong condition, but symptoms tend to improve over time. Adults with this condition can learn to understand their own strengths and weaknesses. And they can improve their social skills.

Asperger's syndrome and autism belong to the group of disorders called autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). They were once known as pervasive developmental disorders. You may hear the term ASD used to describe Asperger's syndrome.

How can you help your child with Asperger’s syndrome succeed?

It takes patience and support to help a child with Asperger's reach his or her full potential. You can help build your child's confidence and social skills. Focus on your child's strengths. Encourage your child to explore interests. Learn as much as you can about Asperger's, and talk to others about it.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.