Asperger's syndrome is a form of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The difference between Asperger's syndrome and autism is that people with Asperger's syndrome will not have delayed language development at a young age. An individual with Asperger's may be equally as smart as an individual who does not have the condition, however, the difference is that he or she may have poor social skills. Asperger's patients also tend to focus obsessively on one topic or repeat a behavior constantly. This condition is what doctors refer to as a “high-functioning” type of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). This means that it’s not as severe as other types of autism spectrum disorders.
Characteristic signs and symptoms of Asperger's syndrome
Individuals with Asperger's syndrome exhibit serious deficiencies in social communication, social imagination, and social interaction. In social communication, they are faced with the challenge of understanding gestures, vocal tones, and facial expressions. They also find it hard to determine when to start or end a conversation. Most of the time, they use complex sentences which they don't quite know the meaning of. In social interactions, they face difficulties in making and maintain friendships. They also find other people confusing and unpredictable. They often become withdrawn and seem uninterested in other people.
In social imagination, individuals suffering from Asperger's syndrome find it very difficult to imagine the future. They are not able to imagine alternative outcomes to different situations. They also have a hard time understanding other people's thoughts or feelings. The characteristics of Asperger's syndrome differ from one person to another, but in general, they love routines and find it hard to adjust when changes are made to their normal schedule. They may also have sensory limitations affecting their sight, smell, sound, or taste. Their senses may either be intensified or underdeveloped, depending on the individual. Sensory sensitivity makes it hard for individuals to use their body awareness system, making it hard for them to navigate between rooms and avoid obstructions.
How is Asperger's syndrome managed?
While the cause of the disorder is still being investigated, research suggests that a combination of factors — genetic and environmental factors — can account for changes in brain development. In addition, there is no definite cure for Asperger's syndrome. However, there are different treatment methods available.
- social skill training that involves conducting therapy sessions to improve how a child interacts with others and expresses himself
- speech-language therapy can help improve the child's communication skills, enabling him to maintain a two-way conversation and understand various social cues like gestures.
- Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) helps children with Asperger Syndrome to change the way they think so that they can control their emotions. This therapy can help them to handle extreme emotions such as outbursts, meltdowns, and obsessions.