There are two things you may notice right away when you first meet someone with Asperger’s syndrome. Their intellects are on par with the rest of the population, but their ability to relate to people is less developed. They also tend to repeat the same behaviors repeatedly, or have an obsession with one issue.
Asperger’s was once thought of as a separate condition. In 2013, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) – the standard book used by mental health professionals – changed how it’s classified.
It is actually no longer possible to diagnose Asperger’s syndrome on its own. Autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) has now been classified under a broader category. There are some symptoms that these disorders share. Nonetheless, many people still call it Asperger’s.
Basically, it is a form of autism that has a high level of functioning. Thus, they are not as severe as other forms of autism spectrum disorders.
Additionally, we find a new diagnosis in the DSM-5, referred to as social pragmatic communication disorder, which shares some symptoms with Asperger’s. Patients with normal intelligence but difficulty speaking and writing are described as having dyspraxia by doctors.
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Signs and symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome
They begin at an early age. It’s common for kids with it to be unable to make eye contact with their parents. It is possible for your child to be uncomfortable when it comes to social situations and to have difficulty understanding what is being said to them.
Other people may be able to see social cues that they miss, such as body language or the expression on people’s faces. It might not occur to them that someone scowling or crossing their arms is angry.
You may also notice that your child shows few emotions. Sometimes they don’t laugh at a joke or smile when they’re happy. You may hear them speaking flatly or robotically.
Your child may spend most of their time talking about themselves and focus intensely on a single subject, like rocks or football stats. If they’re interested in a topic, they’ll probably repeat themselves a lot. It is also possible that they repeat movements repeatedly.
It is also possible that they dislike change. During the school day, they may struggle to get from one class to another or eat the same breakfast every day.
What causes Asperger’s syndrome?
Many of the symptoms of AS are caused by changes in the brain. It has been difficult for doctors to determine what causes these changes. The disorder may be affected by genetic factors and environmental toxins, including chemicals or viruses. AS is more common in boys than in girls.
The Diagnosis Process
Consult your pediatrician if you notice signs in your child. One of these mental health professionals specializes in Autism spectrum disorders, so ask them how you can get in touch with them:
Psychologist. These professionals diagnose and treat disorders of emotion and behavior.
Pediatric neurologist. Brain disorders are treated by them.
Developmental pediatrician. Specialists in speech disorders and developmental issues.
Psychiatrist. Mental health professionals are skilled at prescribing medicines to treat mental health conditions.
Usually, this condition is managed by a team. Your child may see more than one doctor for his or her care.
When your doctor examines your child, he or she will ask questions about:
- What are their symptoms, and when did you first notice them?
- How old was your child when he or she first spoke, and how did they communicate?
- What are their main interests?
- How do they interact with others, and do they have friends?
You’ll also be able to observe how your child communicates and behaves in various situations.
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It is impossible to design a program that will work for every child. It may take your doctor a few tries to find an effective treatment.
Treatments may include:
Social skills training
The therapist can instruct your child to interact more appropriately with others and express themselves in groups or one-on-one sessions. When learning social skills, it is often best to emulate typical behavior.
The communication skills of your child will be improved. You’ll teach them how to speak in an up-and-down pattern rather than using a flat tone. Additionally, students will learn basic communication skills like speaking and listening, as well as how to read hand gestures and eye contact.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
It helps your child learn to manage their emotions and repetitive behaviors through changing their thinking. It will help them deal with behaviors such as outbursts, meltdowns, and obsessions.
Training and education for parents
As a parent, you can continue to work on social skills with your child at home using the same techniques they are taught in class. A counselor may also be helpful to some families dealing with Asperger’s.
Applied behavior analysis
This method encourages your child’s social and communication skills while discouraging behaviors you’d rather not see. Positive reinforcement will be used by the therapist to obtain results.
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Antipsychotic drugs
- Stimulant medicines
Getting the right treatment can help your child overcome some of the difficulties they face with communication and social interactions. School success can lead to success in life.
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Asperger’s syndrome is incurable. Children who are treated and given early intervention can live healthy and productive lives. The majority of adults with Asperger’s Syndrome can live independently even though they still struggle with social interactions.