Asperger syndrome is part of the conditions which fall under the general description of Autism. These conditions are neurobiological in nature and vary according to severity. Psychologists will define the different variations and assign a level of cognitive, social, and physical functioning to the different symptoms observed. Asperger syndrome is a milder form of Autism and generally akin to high-functioning autism.
Prevalence of Aspergers Syndrome
There are more than 400,000 families in America who have members suffering from Aspergers syndrome. Now with new classifications within the autism spectrum, it is predicted that there will be many more cases reported of these milder symptoms which were formerly excluded from diagnosis.
Onset of Aspergers Disease
Full blown autism is detected much earlier in children, but Aspergers syndrome is usually detected after the age of 3 and closer to the age of 5, when the children show strange tendencies and appear awkward in social situations.
What are the symptoms of Aspergers syndrome
Children with Asperger syndrome have normal language skills and normal intelligence, but their social skills and their ability to properly communicate with other people are impaired. They also have impaired motor abilities (movement).
These children are seen as peculiar, they look different and act different and are often stared at in public. They also have their own particular behavior, obsessions, and strange speech patterns. These children are highly sensitive to external stimuli, they may be bothered by lights, or sounds that no one else is bothered by, or they may not be able to stand certain materials or pieces of clothing touching their skin. They also lack facial expressions.
The strange behaviors they display, such as obsessions with celebrities, or walking a certain way or having a certain ritual not common to others make them stand out. They are socially inept and appear to be standoffish, and lacking empathy. They also may have problems with math and language arts and other academic subjects. However, they do not have language delays. They speak as normally as anyone else. Though they may repeat certain phrases or words as part of their unusual behavior and quirks.
What causes Aspergers Syndrome?
The exact causes of Aspergers Syndrome are yet to be fully determined. Ongoing research is necessary to understand the underlying mechanisms at play. There seems to be a genetic component involved, while some research points to the fact that Aspergers syndrome may also have a connection to depression and Attention Deficit Disorder and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). There are researchers who also believe that environmental factors may interact with brain functioning and trigger Aspergers Syndrome.
What Aspergers Syndrome is not
Aspergers Syndrome is a neurobiological disorder, it is not caused by bad parenting. Many people think that bad parenting is the culprit because people with Aspergers Syndrome often react in a maladaptive way; they can appear to be very rude. This rudeness is actually a result of their inability to socialize and their lack of empathy towards others. Again, contrary to public opinion their lack of empathy is not because they were not loved when they were growing up. Again, it is a result of a brain disorder and parenting is not to blame for Aspergers syndrome.
Unfortunately there is no cure for Aspergers Syndrome. Nevertheless, it does not mean that people who suffer from this disorder cannot live a good life. Many people afflicted with Aspergers Syndrome are very happy individuals who live good lives with the support of family and good friends.
Education and Understanding
Understanding Aspergers syndrome goes along way in making this happen. When family and friends understand the disorder and the behaviors of their family and friends who have the disorder, they know how best to deal with them. They will not feel slighted if a bad behavior or indiscretion should occur. Furthermore, family and friends can help support or correct maladaptive behaviors exhibited by the individual suffering from Aspergers Syndrome. Thus, education is important for all people concerned.