INTRODUCTION TO ASPERGER'S
syndrome are increasingly referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorders,
in that they cause delays in typical development of a child across
a broad range of areas. Asperger's syndrome is at the milder end
of this spectrum. These disorders begin in early childhood and continue
through to adult life. They affect three crucial areas of development,
which are sometimes referred to as the triad of impairments:
• Verbal and nonverbal communication
• Social interaction
• Imaginative or creative play.
Autism is a brain development disorder that impairs
social interaction and communication, and causes restricted and
behaviors, all starting before a child is three years old. This
set of signs distinguishes autism from milder Autism Spectrum Disorders
(ASD) such as Asperger syndrome.
Asperger syndrome (also Asperger's syndrome, Asperger's
disorder, Asperger's, or AS) is one of several Autism Spectrum Disorders
(ASD) also characterized by difficulties in social interaction and
by restricted and stereotyped interests and activities. Aspergers
syndrome is different in that there is no general delay in language
or cognitive development. Although not mentioned in standard diagnostic
criteria, motor clumsiness and atypical use of language are frequently
the autism spectrum
Signs of Asperger's syndrome and Autism usually
will appear in the first three years of a child's life, although
there is no exact age for when signs of these disorders will emerge.
These signs may differ between children in type and severity as
well, so Autism, Asperger's syndrome and similar disorders are often
seen as occurring on a spectrum.
These disorders are not intellectual disabilities
or mental illnesses, or caused by poor parenting skills. Currently
Asperger's and Autism cannot be diagnosed at birth through means
such as blood tests or brain scans. Diagnosis occurs as delays are
observed in the child's development, typically at two years of age
although some researchers are arguing for earlier diagnosis.
Typical indicators of Autism & Asperger's syndrome
These disorders will cause delays in a child's
early development, with possible early
signs, or indicators, from these groups:
Cannot carry out simple instructions
Does not maintain eye contact or smile back to
Appears happy in their own world, with little
interest in others
Delays to normal development of speech
Responding to some sounds, but not human voices
Difficulty coping with changes to routines
Emotional outbursts with no apparent cause, or
Overly attached to certain objects or topics
Repetitive or ritualistic behavior such as rocking
or flapping of the hands
Strong reaction to certain sounds
Will not look at objects directly
Insensitivity to pain, or extremes of temperature
Eating a very restricted range of food types
Walking on tip toes
Drawn to watching certain patterns or feeling
Play and imagination
Will only play with certain toys, possibly in
Prefers not to play with others
Engages in only a limited range of play
Does not engage in pretend play.
1. ^ American Psychiatric Association (2000).
"Diagnostic criteria for 299.80 Asperger's Disorder (AD)",
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed.,
text revision (DSM-IV-TR). ISBN 0890420254.
2. ^ a b c d e f g Fitzgerald M, Corvin A (2001). "Diagnosis
and differential diagnosis of Asperger syndrome". Adv Psychiatric
Treat 7 (4): 310–8.
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