Asperger Syndrome is one of the neuro-developmental disorders that mostly affects children.
My friend Kiara was really stressed when her daughter of just 5 was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome. At first, she thought that it was some type of autism but after the diagnosis, it was concluded as Asperger Syndrome. She was immediately taken up for speech-language therapy and social skill training sessions which would improve the symptoms.
After all that, still one question kept buzzing my mind, how is AS different from autism? I went through some articles and found all the answers. But before I get to the main difference, let’s first find out what exactly is Asperger’s Syndrome.
What Is Asperger Syndrome?
Asperger Syndrome is one of the neuro-developmental disorders that’s generally reflected on an individual’s behavior, social interactions, use of language and communication. It was previously characterized as one of the autism spectrum disorders (ASD) but later it was defined as a milder autism spectrum disorder, differing form other in intelligence and normal language.
What’s the difference between Asperger Sydrome and Classic Autism?
Asperger Syndrome and Autism are usually referred to as the same diagnosis. But that’s not the case. Asperger Syndrome exists as a part of the autism spectrum but the major difference is in its early development of language and social skills. Children or adults with high functioning autism (HFA) and Asperger Syndrome both have average or above average intelligence but generally struggle with social interaction and communication issues.
However, in comparison to the children with classic autism, children with AS syndrome have IQs that fall in the normal or even superior. They show normal ability in matter of learning and intelligence but show sterotyped and restricted patterns of behavior, activities and interests. That’s where most parents miss out on noticing the early signs and symptoms of the disorder.
Signs and Symptoms of Asperger Syndrome
Asperger Syndrome is characterised by some peculiar pattern of symptoms rather than a single symptom. The following behaviors are often associated with Asperger syndrome:
- repetitive or robotic speech
- awkward or limited social interactions
- nonverbal communication through gestures, facial expression
- self discussing
- inability to understand social/emotional issues or non-literal phrases
- lack of eye contact
- obsession with specific, often unusual, topics
- one-sided conversations
- inappropriate movements or manner
- not smiling when happy or laughing at joke
Diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome
The diagnosis is generally carried out seeing the above signs and symptoms. The diagnosis is however, difficult until your child or adult begins to have serious difficulties during social interactions in either school or in work place. Children with Asperger syndrome show early signs of Asperger Syndrome exhibiting exceptional language development characterized by inappropriate or awkward conversations. Another common sign is delay in motor skills. As children, in particular, they may have difficulties on the playground because they can’t catch a base ball or play catch and run games. Further detail diagnosis can be done by referring to mental health experts like a psychologist or pediatric neurologist or a psychiatrist.
Treatment Methods For Asperger Syndrome
Every case of Asperger’s Syndrome is different, hence the treatment depends upon the nature of the disorder. Some of the common treatment method include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy where your child will learn way of thinking that will prevent him from doing his repetitive behaviors, controlling his emotions, meltdowns and outbursts.
- Speech-language therapy where you child will improve his communication skills. For instance he’ll learn how to make a two-way conversation without being awkward, understanding social cues like eye contact and hand gestures.
- Social Skill training where your child can learn social skills in a group, teaching them how to interact with their friends. This training could correct awkward methods of speaking such as monotone, and help children to better understand and interpret the speech and communication signals.
- Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) where ABA is effective for improving children’s outcomes, especially their cognitive and language abilities. Over the past several decades, different treatment models using ABA have emerged, all of which use behavioral teaching.