Asperger’s syndrome is a type of pervasive development disorder. This syndrome is also called Asperger’s disorder.
Pervasive developmental disorders are conditions which include delays in the development of many basic skills, usually the ability to communicate, to socialize with others, and to use imagination.
At first, Asperger’s syndrome is similar to autism, which is another, more severe type of pervasive developmental disorder, there are some notably important differences. Children who have Asperger’s disorder usually function better than children with autism.
Also, children who have Asperger’s disorder typically have near-normal language development and normal intelligence, even though they can develop problems communicating as they get older. This disorder was named after Hans Asperger, Austrian doctor who first described the disorder in 1944.
Many of the symptoms of this disorder are caused by changes in the brain. However, it is still unknown what exactly causes these changes. Exposure to environmental toxins, such as viruses or chemicals, and genetic factors have been linked as potential contributors to the development of Asperger’s syndrome. In addition, boys are at higher risk of developing Asperger’s syndrome than girls.
The symptoms of this disorder can vary and range as well, from mild to severe. Most common symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome are:
Repetitive or eccentric behaviors: Children with Asperger’s syndrome can develop odd, repetitive movements, such as finger twisting or hand wringing.
Problems with social skills: Children with this disorder typically have difficulty with the interaction with other people and often are awkward in many social situations.
Communication difficulties: People who have this condition may not make eye contact during a conversation. They can also have problems using gestures and facial expressions, and understanding body language.
Unusual preoccupations or rituals: Children with this disorder may develop rituals which they refuse to alter, such as doing something in a specific order.
Coordination problems: Children with Asperger’s syndrome may have problems with movements, which may seem awkward or clumsy.
Talented or skilled: Children with this condition are exceptionally skilled or talented in a particular area, such as math or music.
Limited range of interests: Child with this disorder may develop an intense, obsessive interest in several areas, such as maps, weather, or sports schedules.
First of all, there is no cure for this disorder. However, there are many treatments which can reduce symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome and help your child reach his or her maximum potential. Treatment is usually based on the specific symptoms of a child.
Medications are usually used in order to treat the symptoms of this disorder, such as risperidone (to reduce insomnia and agitation), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (to reduce repetitive behaviors), olanzapine, naltrexone, and guanfacine (to reduce hyperactivity), and aripiprazole (to reduce irritability).
There are other treatments which can improve emotional regulation, social interaction, and communication skills, although medication ca be helpful for controlling the symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome. A lot of children with this disorder also receive cognitive behavioral therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, and social skills training.
This disorder cannot be cured or prevented. However, treatment can improve quality and function of life.