A person suffering from Asperger Syndrome (AS) will have normal behaviour except for a lag in social skills. The person will focus on the same topic again and again. Asperger Syndrome has been recognized as part of the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Asperger Syndrome has similar mental health issues as that of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Instead of referring to Autism Spectrum Disorder, many people call it Asperger’s. The condition comes under the ‘high-functioning’ type of ASD.
Asperger Syndrome is one type of autism. The patient suffers from social and communication difficulties and they will reveal repetitive patterns of behaviour. If a person is affected by an autistic disorder, there will be a delay in language or cognitive development. Asperger Syndrome is revealed in children after the age of 3 years.
People with Asperger Syndrome will find it difficult to make friends and sustain friends. There will be an unusual style of speaking that lacks gestures or intonation. They are very good at one-to-one interaction and in dealing with one or two subjects. However, they fail to participate in a group or conference.
Symptoms of Asperger Syndrome:
1. The symptoms of Asperger Syndrome are less severe than other Autism Spectrum Disorders.
2. If a child has Asperger, he talks about himself most of the time.
3. The child will spend most of his energy on a single topic or activity.
4. There will be a lot of repetition of the child’s favourite activities
5. The child will perform the same movements again and again
6. The person will not like to change
7. The child may eat the same food for breakfast or lunch on a daily basis
8. The person suffering from Asperger Syndrome will find it hard to read social signals
9. The child may suffer from anxiety and confusion
10. The symptoms are prominent in males as well as females
11. The signs of Asperger Syndrome will be found in a child’s first year of life.
12. The child will exhibit poorly coordinated motor skills
13. Lack of rhythm or intonation
14. The patient will follow rules and rituals. It is difficult to change the routine
15. Delay in motor development
16. Sarcasm and jokes will lead to distress or confusion
17. These children would like to befriend others. However, they will find it difficult to make friends and they may be rejected as well
18. Socially improper behaviour to their age
19. Difficulty to judge personal space
20. Unable to show empathy for others
21. Unable to adapt to social situations
22. Abnormality in communication patterns
23. There is no sensitivity in interrupting others
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Causes of Asperger Syndrome:
1. It is difficult to figure out the exact causes of Asperger Syndrome. However, there are certain environmental and genetic factors that will affect the formation of the brain.
2. As is present in certain families. It passes on from one generation to another generation
3. As per some experts, environmental factors in the pregnancy may have an impact on the health of the baby
4. There are structural and functional differences in the brain that are affected by Asperger Syndrome. The abnormalities are revealed through advanced brain imaging technology.
5. People affected by Asperger Syndrome will have superior intelligence levels.
6. They will have an excellent memory and they are experts in one or two subjects
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How is it diagnosed?
1. If you notice the symptoms of Asperger syndrome, you should visit the paediatrician. The paediatrician may refer your child to a mental health expert. The health expert who is specialized in ASD will deal with your child’s condition.
2. In most cases, the condition will be treated by a group of doctors consisting of Psychologist, Paediatric Neurologist, Developmental paediatrician, and Psychiatrist.
3. The psychologist will deal with the problems associated with emotions and behaviour
4. The condition of the brain will be treated by a paediatric neurologist
5. Speech, language issues and developmental issues will be dealt with by a developmental paediatrician
6. The psychiatrist will deal with the mental health condition
7. The doctor will conduct physical tests to find out the hearing and speaking skills. Blood tests and x-rays are conducted to figure out the physical disorder.
8. It is difficult to trace the condition during an early stage. Hence, it is difficult to assess the condition until the child reaches adulthood.
9. Parents will share symptoms with doctors. The observations shared by teachers will also be considered by doctors.
10. The doctor will ask questions to find out the child’s behaviour. The doctor will verify the child’s language learning skills, his focus on various subjects, his friends and interaction with friends.
11. The child will be observed in various kinds of situations to understand his communication capabilities and responsiveness.
12. While testing adults, the patient will be asked to tell the name of the father, mother, wife/husband, or close family members to figure out their development history.
13. If a child is suffering from Asperger Syndrome, the verbal IQ scores will be higher than the performance IQ scores.
Prevention of Asperger Syndrome:
1. As environmental and genetic factors dominate the cause of Asperger Syndrome, it will be difficult to take preventive steps
2. By creative positive and cooperative environment, it is possible to improve the condition of the patient.
3. The therapy suggested by the doctor should be followed without fail.
4. There is no cure to overcome Asperger Syndrome. However, the problem can be managed in a better way so that it will not affect the overall personality and his/her approach towards others.
5. Medications can be used to deal with specific behavioural symptoms. The behavioural symptoms will lead to anxiety, aggression, mood disorder and repetitive meaningless gestures.
6. Parents and teachers should help the individual to develop the appropriate behaviour
7. Teachers can encourage students in playing cooperative games. It will help them identify suitable friends very easily
8. Emotional responses, sharing and cooperation will be achieved in a very efficient manner by nurturing the right kind of environment at home.
9. The individual will be able to concentrate on topics for a long period of time and the sharp memory will benefit certain professions. They will recognize certain patterns which might be ignored by others.
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Treatment of Asperger Syndrome:
You should understand the fact that every child is unique. Hence, the treatment offered to one child cannot be applied to another child automatically. After reading the child’s behaviour, the doctor will prescribe the most appropriate therapy.
1. As part of the treatment, social skills will be imparted to the child. The child will go through one-on-one sessions with the trainer or coach. Various ways are explored to bring the child into the interactive mode. Children will learn social skills when they go through the models of their behaviour.
2. Kid’s communication skills will improve by implementing speech-language therapy. Instead of using a flat tone, the child will learn to use up and down tones. The kid will learn two-way conversations and will understand the gestures as well.
3. The child’s way of thinking will be changed through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). There will be better control of emotions and repetitive behaviours. The child will learn to manage outbursts, emotions, obsessions and meltdowns.
4. As the child goes through Asperger syndrome therapy, the parent will be educated and trained to take care of the child. The parent will learn techniques to engage the child and to work on social skills. Parents can take the support of counsellors to deal with the child in a better way.
5. The social and positive communication skills in children will be imparted through the ‘applied behavioural analyses. The therapy will discourage negative behaviour. The therapists will appreciate the child for catching positive behaviour.
6. Some medications can be used to deal with depression or anxiety. The medications that are prescribed to overcome these conditions include Antipsychotic drugs, Stimulants and Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
7. By giving the right treatment, there will be a great improvement in the child’s behaviour. There will be an improvement in social skills and the child will mingle with classmates at school and other public places without any issues.
8. Asperger Syndrome treatment will address educational, vocational, and career support. Through the treatment, there will be a great change in the behaviour. Some medications are used to achieve the normal level of behaviour.
9. No specific treatment is available to deal with the core symptoms of Asperger Syndrome.
10. The treatment should deliver results such that there will be an improvement in independent functioning. The students should become self-sufficient. Various programs should be conducted to improve communication and social skills
11. The speech/language therapy will avoid the ambiguous usage of vocabulary and the more appropriate use of language in social settings
12. Children will learn problem-solving strategies and they will memorize phrases that are used very frequently in various contexts
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1. Depression is a common symptom found in children affected by Asperger Syndrome
2. Asperger Syndrome will lead to social isolation
3. Some people suffer from distorted sensory sensitivity. The senses will be either over-reactive or under-developed. The perception of noise, smell, texture and light may be different.
4. Children suffering from Asperger Syndrome will be over-active. They are likely to develop anxiety or depression during their adulthood
5. The other disorders associated with AS include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, tic disorders and anxiety disorder.
6. People suffering from Asperger Syndrome will show behaviour similar to other conditions. Hence, it will be difficult to differentiate between the symptoms of Asperger Syndrome with other symptoms.
7. Some common conditions present in Asperger Syndrome affected persons include anxiety disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and mood disorder.
8. The social impairments of Asperger Syndrome person will remain lifelong. As the person matures and absorbs the training, there will be an improvement in the behaviour
9. The degree of symptoms vary from one person to another person
10. Asperger Syndrome person will have an original way of thinking. He/she will have the capacity for perseverance in various circumstances. They will not be swayed by others’ opinions.
11. The anxiety and frustration in the person can lead to disruptive behaviour. In some people, it leads to depression as well.
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Myth #1: Asperger Syndrome cannot be treated – Asperger Syndrome can be treated by offering the most appropriate therapy. A group of specialists will study the behavioural issues and will suggest the most appropriate therapy for the child. After undergoing the therapy, the child will behave in a normal way.
Myth #2: There is no cure for Asperger Syndrome – Asperger Syndrome is a condition that can be managed in a very efficient way. Proper diagnosis will play an important role in finding the root issue. The issue will be addressed in a systematic way. A group of doctors will deal with the case and they will offer the best course of action to change the behaviour
Myth #3: Social skills cannot be imparted – By undergoing the therapy, there will be a drastic change in the patient. The treatment will be customized as per the needs of the patient. After going through the condition of the patient, the doctors will offer the right therapy. The individual will be encouraged to face group settings in a bold manner.
Myth #4: Psychotherapy will not relieve depression or anxiety – Individual’s frustration and anxiety will be dealt with in the best possible way by offering the most appropriate psychotherapy. The doctors will go through the problem-solving approach.
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Asperger Syndrome is a type of ASD disorder that affects communication and socialization skills. The child will have obsessive interests and lacks imagination. There will be a delay in the development of motor skills and the child may suffer from sensory difficulties as well. After diagnosing the issue, the child will undergo therapy prescribed by a group of doctors. Quick improvement can be witnessed after undergoing the therapy. The parents and family members will also play an important role in helping the child overcome physical and psychological difficulties. Through social, behavioural and educational intervention, there will be a great change in the person affected by Asperger Syndrome.
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