May 27, 2012
Asperger’s syndrome is typically used to describe children who are on the high functioning end of the autistic spectrum. Unlike other disorders on the spectrum, these children typically do not have difficulty with intellectual development or speech. Those individuals with Asperger’s syndrome typically avoid eye contact and appear to have a lack of empathy for others. They may also be preoccupied with certain topics or parts of objects. For example, instead of playing with a matchbox car, a child with Asperger’s may focus on just the tires. These children also dislike any changes in their routines and have difficulty understanding social cues. Delayed motor development, unusual speech, and heightened sensitivity to sounds, textures, and tastes are also symptoms of this condition. These children may also not understand jokes and have a tendency to take everything literally. Asperger’s syndrome is considered a developmental disorder. The incidence rates for this condition are not well established, but it does appear that boys are three to four times more likely to have it than girls are. It is named after Hans Asperger, an Austrian pediatrician who studied four children with the symptoms in 1944. Asperger referred to these children as having autistic psychopathy. He described it as a personality disorder marked by social isolation. His work was published, but not widely known until an English doctor published a series of case studies that described more children with who met the same symptoms. She published these articles in 1981, but AS was not added to the World Health Organization’s diagnostic manual until 1992. Diagnosing this condition is usually done with input from teachers, parents, caregivers, doctors, and others who have close contact with the child. The...