Asperger syndrome (AS)
Asperger's syndrome was first described by a German doctor, Hans Asperger, in 1944.

Aspegers syndrome a developmental disorder of personality that could be distinguished from other types of personality abnormalities, although a separate disorder of it’s own it holds many similarities to those of early childhood autism.Dr. Hans described aspergers as individuals with peculiar, odd-like behaviors, with awkwardness when in social situations. Abnormal behaviors, was Dr. Aspergers diagnosis, the name he chose for this pattern was 'autistic psychopathy' using the latter word in the technical sense of an abnormality in the personality. Many individuals are sensitive to the word ‘psychopathy’ , for it is associated to the term ‘psychopathic behavior ‘ therefore the neutral term is Asperger syndrome.

Common traits of Aspergers.

The most common traits include discomfort in social situations, and difficulty engaging in eye contact with the person speaking. They lack facial and emotional expressions, except with strong emotions such as anger or misery. Vocal pitch tends to be repetitive and dull, or exaggerated. Many seem to use abnormal body posturing and gestures, due to the lack  of gross motor coordination they seem clumsy.

Asperger’s children are non-negotiable and insist on routines and or rituals. These children tend to be stubborn about following a certain order of events like rituals before dressing or before leaving the home. These nonfunctional routines can be of great significance to a child with Asperger, for they feel an intense need to act upon these urges. With dressing a child may choose to wear the same outfit day after day as a uniform.  Children with this syndrome often enjoy spinning objects and watching them until the movement ceases, to a far greater extent than normal. They tend to become intensely attached to particular possessions and are very unhappy when away from familiar places. They distress when away from care givers or for unusual reasons.

Language Development

Asperger's is the one disorder under the autism spectrum where language is acquired at an early age.  Many children with Aspergers have speech by the age of 2.

When language skills are developed a full command of grammar is  later acquired, but there may be difficulty in using pronouns correctly, with the substitution of the second or third for the first person forms. One example is the child refers to himself or herself by first name. When in conversation there is an intense concern with specific unusual topics, individuals with (AS) lack understanding of social interaction, and when in conversation it circles around them.

Comprehension of other people's expressions and gestures is poor and the person with Asperger syndrome may misinterpret or ignore  non-verbal signs. At times they may honestly gaze into another person's face, searching for the meaning that eludes them. The content of speech is abnormal, tending to be trivial and often consisting of lengthy discussions on favorite subject. Sometimes a word or phrase is repeated over and over again, at times the child may invent some words. Subtle verbal jokes are not understood, though simple verbal humor is appreciated.

Social Interaction

Making friend does not come easily, or at all, for the Aspergers child may not seem interested in sharing experiences or interests with others. A child with AS may seem unenthusiastic or uninterested in responding to others in a socially or emotionally reciprocal way. For example, the child may ignore or seem to not notice when a person expresses affection toward him or prompts conversation. The problem arises from a lack of ability to understand and use the rules governing social behavior. These rules are unwritten and unstated, complex, constantly changing, and affect speech, gesture, posture, movement, eye contact, choice of clothing, proximity to others, and many other aspects of behavior.

Their social behavior in these children is naive and peculiar. Many are aware of their difficulties and even strive to overcome their inappropriate ways, yet they do not have the intuitive knowledge to respond to the personality of another. Some are over-sensitive to criticism and suspicious of other people. On the other hand, Asperger individuals may very well desire social interaction, but their poor social skills result in failure which can cause anxiety and depression in young adults with (AS).

Cognitive Development

A child with (AS) may show no significant delay in cognitive development and does not experience a significant delay in developing language skills. IQ's fall along the full spectrum, but many are in the above normal range in verbal ability and in the below average range in performance abilities. As in normal children some with Aspergers may exhibit trouble with reading, writing and mathematics. Many are obsessed with complex topics such as patterns, music, history etc.

They have excellent rote memories and become intensely interested in one or two subjects, such as the genealogy of royalty, bus time-tables, prehistoric monsters, or the characters in a television series, to the exclusion of all else. They absorb every available fact concerning their chosen topic and talk about it at length, whether or not the listener is interested, but have little grasp of the meaning of the facts they learn. They may also excel at board games needing a good rote memory, such as chess.

(AS) usually presents between ages 2 and 6 years, but is often not recognized until later. It has often been diagnosed as late as young adulthood.

Early signs of Aspergers are:

•        The child usually begins to speak at average age, whereas walking may be delayed.

•        Movements tend to be clumsy and awkward .

•        Odd forms of self-stimulation, unusual behaviors.

•        Sensory problems appear, but not as severe as with other forms of autism .

•        Socially aware but displays inappropriate reciprocal interaction.

Speech signals of Aspergers:

•        Simple speech before age 4 years.

•        Language is unnatural and repetitive.

•        Voice tends to be flat and emotionless.

•        Conversations circle around self .



Education

Education & early intervention services may be hard to get due to lack of knowledge on Aspergers. Educational intervention is necessary and should be modified to the child’s need. These students generally do well with memory tasks, teaching in a rote fashion may help the individual to retain the information presented. (Rote memory is a skill in which children remember letters, numbers, colors and other sequence are easily captured by the brain).

There is no type of school that is particularly suitable for those with Asperger syndrome. Some have performed well in schools for normal children, while others have managed better in schools for various kinds of handicaps. Educational progress depends on the severity of the child's impairments, but also on the understanding and skill of the teacher.

At this time, there is no prescribed treatment regimen for individuals with Asperger's syndrome. In adulthood, many lead productive lives, living independently, working effectively at a job (many are college professors, computer programmers, dentists), and raising a family.

Hereditary?

At times people think everyone who has autism and is high-functioning has Asperger's syndrome. However, it appears that there are several forms of high-functioning autism, and Asperger's syndrome is one form.Researchers believe that Asperger's syndrome is possibly hereditary in nature because many families report having an "odd" relative or two. In addition, depression and bipolar disorder are often reported in those with Asperger's syndrome as well as in family members.
All the features that characterizes Asperger syndrome can be found in varying degrees in the normal population. People differ in their levels of skill in social interaction and in their ability to read nonverbal social cues. There is an equally wide distribution in motor skills. Many who are capable and independent as adults have special interests that they pursue with marked enthusiasm.
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