Asperger syndrome is considered an autism spectrum disorder, and patients have difficult times with social interactions as well as behaviors. The difference between this and other autism spectrum disorders is that Asperger Syndrome allows for cognitive and linguistic development.
What is Asperger Syndrome?
Asperger syndrome is described in children as those with nonverbal communication skills and physical clumsiness. This syndrome is also known as PDD or pervasive developmental disorder. The affected patients normally show signs of social isolation as well as eccentric childhood behaviors. Speech and motor skills are affected, as well as an area of interest that leaves no room for common interests of a child their age. Examples include door knobs or meteorology, any interest that the child chooses. It is thought that 50% of Asperger patients had oxygen deprivation during birth, and the idea that it runs in families through genetics is still being searched. Many families that exhibit histories of bipolar disorder and depression are thought to be a link to the syndrome.
Diagnosing Asperger’s requires the child to have a major impairment of social interactions including the failure to develop relationships to the child’s development level as well as lack of wanting to share enjoyment with others. A preoccupation or a restricted interest in things with an intense focus on one typology is common as well. Repetitive motor mannerisms such as flapping of hands or fingers as well as a preoccupation with specific objects or parts are commonly seen. A limited use of gestures when communicating as well as clumsy body language and limited facial expressions are the most seen when diagnosing children.
There is no cure for Asperger’s syndrome but many interventions and treatments are used. Psychotherapy to help the child process feelings as well as parent education are commonly used in school aged children. Behavior modification and social skills training with educational interventions are also recommended. Medication including psychostimulants and antidepressants are commonly used as a general treatment. For children exhibiting preoccupations, mood stabilizers and fluvoxamine or antidepressants are prescribed. For the irritable child with Asperger’s, lithium or other mood stabilizers can be used as well as beta blockers and neuroletpics such as haloperidol can also be prescribed.
Asperger is a stable and lifelong syndrome but children have a good prognosis with intellect; however, very few schools are actually able to meet the social needs of these children. Adults have a greater risk of depression than children due to the disorder; research points to adults having increased risks of psychotic episodes later in life due to their limitations.
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