Does your child find social situations confusing? Do they find small talk more difficult to take part in than you think they should? Have you ever noticed that he/she finds it very hard to understand other people’s feelings? Are small details and facts something your child hones in on? Have you ever taken notice to a specific routine that your child takes part in everyday? Does disrupting this routine excite or upset them more than it should? Is making friends a very difficult task for your child? Have you ever noticed that your child is very averse to making direct eye contact? If 'yes' has been your answer to most of these questions, then your child may be suffering from Asperger's syndrome.
Asperger's syndrome (also known as Asperger's disorder) is a type of pervasive developmental disorder (PDD). Pervasive developmental disorders are distinguished by interruptions in the development of basic skills, specifically the ability to socialize and communicate with others, and to use imagination.
Asperger's syndrome is commonly misunderstood to be autism, which is a diagnosis most parents have a hard time accepting. Asperger’s can be considered amongst the Autism spectrum disorder’s (ASDs), but more modernly is regarded as a pervasive developmental disorder (not otherwise specified). To put your mind at ease here are some important points of difference between Autism and Asperger’s disorder; children with Asperger's syndrome generally function better than those with autism. Asperger’s children typically have normal intelligence and in some cases extraordinarily high intelligence, however, they may develop problems communicating as they get older.
Asperger's syndrome was named for the Austrian doctor, Hans Asperger, who first described the disorder in 1944. However, Asperger's syndrome was not recognized as a unique disorder until much more recently.
Recognizing the Disorder
Each child will have his/her own individual pattern of development. Sometimes, a child's development is delayed from birth. Other children with Asperger’s develop normally before suddenly losing social or language skills. Parents are usually the first to notice something is wrong. As a parent here are some key characteristics you can keep an eye out for: * The inability to make eye contact while speaking. * The child may make unusual gestures while speaking that may seem impolite or rude. * He/She may not understand personal space and stand too close to someone while talking. * They may have problems focusing their attention on people and even topics that are not his/her favorite things.
The symptoms of Asperger's syndrome vary and can range from mild to severe. Generally, Asperger’s children have difficulty interacting with others and often are awkward in social situations. Because of their awkward tendencies, they do not make friends easily. They have a very hard time starting and maintaining conversations. Children may develop odd, repetitive movements like hand wringing or finger twisting. The movements of children with Asperger's syndrome may seem clumsy or awkward. A child with Asperger's syndrome may develop rituals that he or she refuses to change, such as eating schedules. Children with Asperger's syndrome may not make eye contact when speaking with someone unless they’re instructed to. Because of this, they may have trouble using facial expressions and gestures, and understanding body language. A child with Asperger's syndrome may develop an intense, almost obsessive, interest in a few areas: sports schedules, weather, or maps.
Cause and Frequency
The exact cause of Asperger's syndrome is unknown. However, we do know it tends to run in families, which may suggest inheritability. Asperger's syndrome has only recently been recognized as a unique disorder. For that reason, the exact number of people with the disorder…