Aspergers is a disorder that affects many people in different ways. It is classified as a developmental disability, and it can cause social and communication difficulties. It’s a type of autism that often comes with a variety of symptoms. Asperger’s isn’t something that people should be afraid of though; it just means that someone has a different way of thinking about the world around them. If you want to learn more about aspergers and what it means for those who have it, keep reading below! Here are the things you need to know about this condition.
The Symptoms Of Asperger’s Syndrome
Asperger’s syndrome is a developmental disorder that affects the way a person thinks, behaves and communicates with others. It can also affect their interests and abilities to take care of themselves in everyday tasks such as eating or dressing.
- The symptoms of Aspergers include: Difficulty interacting socially with other people
- Quirky behavior
- Lack of eye contact or awkward body language
- Repetitive movements, speech patterns and/or interests that are out of the ordinary for their age.
The following list contains some common traits associated with Asperger’s syndrome:
- Difficulty making friends; may be seen as self-centered because they lack interest in the other person.
- Lack of imagination; difficulty understanding the perspective or ideas of others which is why they are often described as “lacking empathy”.
- Quirky behavior that may come across as strange to those around them such as an unusual sense of humor, a lack of eye contact and/or awkward body language.
- Difficulty with self-care such as dressing, hygiene and feeding.
- Repetitive movements such as rocking back and forth or flapping hands when excited; often very interested in a particular topic that may be considered “abnormal” by those around them.
- Lack of common sense; difficulty understanding social cues which makes it difficult for them to interact with others.
- Difficulty understanding social rules and norms such as when it is appropriate to join a conversation, how much eye contact should be made, or what type of body language might be considered rude in certain situations.
- Inability to read between the lines; often described as “black and white thinkers” because they take everything at face value and don’t understand sarcasm or teasing.
- Often very intelligent with a high IQ; loves to learn new things but may struggle academically if they lack the social skills required for group work and/or self-monitoring in class.
- Extremely literal interpretation of conversation often resulting in misunderstandings with others.
- Difficulty modulating the volume of their voice which may cause them to be seen as “bossy” or loud when they are just trying to communicate with others in a normal way.
- Extreme difficulty understanding jokes, sarcasm and/or idioms; unable to understand abstract language such as metaphors but can often describe complex events in great detail.
- Extremely logical with a strong ability to focus on facts even when they may be irrelevant in certain situations; often described as being “obsessed” or “a perfectionist” because of their intense interest in one particular topic that is usually out of the ordinary for most people.
- Extreme difficulty coping when their routine is disrupted even just a little bit; have a difficult time transitioning from one activity to another and often need more advanced planning in order for them to adjust accordingly.
Aspergers vs autism what’s the difference?
Asperger’s syndrome is related to autism but the two are not interchangeable. Autism involves a number of symptoms while Aspergers only deals with social and communication problems along with repetitive behaviors, interests or movements which may affect one specific skill set such as language skills or math abilities.
People who have both conditions often “present” differently from each other. In some cases, Aspergers may be more obvious to the casual observer while autism is not apparent at all which makes it difficult for many parents and teachers who are trying to determine whether their child needs an assessment in order to get the help they need.
In addition, people with autistic spectrum disorders often have a range of symptoms while those with Aspergers tend to have more severe problems in only one or two areas. Autism is not as prevalent because it can be difficult for others to notice unless they are specifically looking for the signs and symptoms, whereas Asperger’s syndrome occurs just as often but tends to be diagnosed later in life since the social and communication problems may appear normal when a child is very young.
People with Asperger’s syndrome tend to have more of an ability in their chosen areas than those who are autistic which results in them often becoming experts or geniuses around the one thing they love so much such as history, music or computers. Their intense interest in a specific topic makes it difficult for them to relate to others but they can become very successful if they have the right support and accommodations at their school or workplace.
Summary: Aspergers is not autism, but those with both conditions may need help from professionals who are trained to identify symptoms early on so that an assessment can be completed and the right support and services can be put into place.
Aspergers in adults
Aspergers affects people differently so it can be difficult to diagnose them in adulthood however there are some telltale signs that professionals look for when determining if an adult has Asperger’s syndrome.
People who have been diagnosed with autism at a younger age usually continue to show the same symptoms as they get older which makes it easier to identify the condition. When it comes to Aspergers, adults who were never diagnosed as children usually need a very thorough assessment in order for professionals to make an accurate diagnosis since they often show symptoms differently than those with autism which can be difficult if not impossible for others to observe because of their ability to mask them successfully.
One area which is often overlooked when it comes to Aspergers in adults is the obsessive interests that they have which can be expressed through their career, hobbies or activities. Career options are limited for those with neurodevelopmental disorders but if an adult chooses a profession based on their intense interest then this may indicate Asperger’s syndrome since there tends to be a connection between their special interests and the career they choose.
What Causes Asperger’s Syndrome?
Aspergers is believed to be caused by a number of different factors which are often hard to identify. There have been studies linking Asperger’s syndrome with genetic markers, brain abnormalities and neurotransmitter imbalances but none have conclusively determined the root cause(s) of this condition so it remains unknown for now.
How is Asperger’s Syndrome Diagnosed?
There are a number of standardized tests which can be used to determine if someone may have Asperger’s syndrome. These assessments typically include an interview with the client in order for the professional to find out more about how they think, behave and react differently from others while taking into account their unique interests or passions which often play a role in their lives.
People who have been diagnosed as children often do not need to be formally assessed as adults since they will continue to show the same symptoms as a result of Asperger’s syndrome so they can maintain an accurate diagnosis without having it redone. Those who were never diagnosed as children or teenagers usually require formal assessments in order to determine if they have Asperger’s as an adult since their symptoms may be different as a result of compartmentalizing them as much as possible.
A team of medical and psychological experts is usually required for testing and assessment. The psychological expert will ask the client a series of questions as well as observe their behaviors and thought patterns while the medical expert will review any test results from other tests that were completed as part of an overall assessment.
After all assessments have been reviewed, a formal diagnosis can be made by the professionals involved.
It can take several months or even years for professionals to complete the necessary assessments and consultations in order to make an accurate diagnosis which is why those who suspect they might have Asperger’s as an adult should be prepared to wait that long or even longer.
How is Asperger’s Syndrome Treated?
The treatment strategy must be customized for each child. In general, asperger’s syndrome is treated with a combination of educational and behavioral therapy. Treatment for aspergers should begin as early as possible to be most effective.
Typically, Asperger’s Syndrome treatment includes:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Social skills training
- Medication (e.g., Ritalin, Adderall, Strattera and SSRI antidepressants such as Prozac).
- educational programs
There is a growing awareness of the importance of early intervention for these children in order to maximize their development while providing them with necessary support which can be achieved through educational programs, behavioral training and social skills support.
Getting Assistance For Your Loved One With Asperger’s Syndrome
Aspergers is a lifelong condition so family members who live with someone who has this neurodevelopmental disorder can also benefit from therapy which could help them learn how to cope and assist their loved one in the best way possible. Severe cases of Asperger’s syndrome may require supported living arrangements where people are taken care of on a 24-hour basis.
Asperger’s syndrome affects people in different ways and not everyone will respond to the same treatment methods so it is important for those who have been diagnosed as well as their loved ones to explore all available options before making any decisions about how they intend to proceed with Asperger’s Syndrome treatment and support.
If you suspect that your child or loved one has Asperger’s syndrome, it is important to get them assessed and diagnosed.