Asperger Syndrome refers to a condition that is part of the spectrum of autism disorders. These disorders are not uncommon and generally severe. They are felt to be closely associated with inheritance patterns in families. Asperger’s arises from a developmental disorder of the nervous system which manifests in a set of signs and symptoms associated with disturbance in language, behavior, social interactions, and learning. Asperger Syndrome, unlike the more typical forms of autism, is often not detected until the child has reached school age.

Symptoms

  • Mildly delayed language skills.
  • Difficulty making friends.
  • Quite verbal about specific topics but challenged in expressing simple feelings or understanding the feelings of others.
  • Odd, monotone, and self-centered language.
  • Unaware of when to start or stop a conversation; poor grasp of another child’s conversation.
  • Ritualistic play and lack of pretend play skills.

Treatment

  • Concentration on early recognition and language therapy.
  • Behavior therapy that stresses the consequences of behavior.
  • Special education resources—children with developmental disorders such as Asperger syndrome are eligible for specialized school services once a proper diagnosis has been made.

Call your Doctor If

  • Language development is significantly delayed.
  • Behavior is uncompromising or too demanding.
  • Sleep is disturbed routinely.
  • Play with other children appears unsatisfying or distasteful.
  • Conversation seems to be irrelevant and lack understanding of the subject or content of what other children are saying.

Asperger Syndrome is most easily identified when odd language, failure to play with pleasure, and ritualistic behavior patterns are noted. However, it is not always easy to diagnose, especially in children whose language skills seem mostly normal at times. Fortunately, much is being learned about dealing with Asperger Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorders.  Ask your child’s doctor for help. Obtain referrals to professionals who are experienced in diagnosing and treating these conditions.

But what can you do personally? Understanding the feelings of a child with Asperger Syndrome is extremely helpful in addressing symptoms and creating better paths to adapting and learning. Remember that just because a child cannot seem to speak and comprehend the way others their age are able to do, does not mean that they do not feel the discomfort of not being accepted or understood.

Some people will claim they have the right cure and the best treatment and yet prove to know virtually nothing about what your child with Asperger Syndrome really needs. Their claims may delay effective intervention and add to the cost and frustration of care. Medical Centers offer comprehensive approaches to dealing with these complex disorders. Your physician can refer you to the best source for help and work with you to give you and your child the very best chance for a successful future.

By Dr. Olson Huff