Discovering the Truth About Asperger’s — What Is Asperger’s?
Among many special needs children and disorders, one that is commonly misunderstood is Asperger’s Disorder. In fact, many children with Asperger’s can go many years, even into their teen or adult years, before they are properly diagnosed.
What is Asperger’s?
Asperger’s is a pervasive development disorder or autism spectrum disorder, which is why there are many similarities between autism and Asperger’s. However, the major difference between the two disorders is that children and adults with Asperger’s function on a higher level than children with autism. Those with Asperger’s also usually have normal intelligence and language skills, and Asperger’s is typically referred to as “high-functioning autism.”
What Is Asperger’s Known For — What Are the Symptoms?
Depending on the severity of the disorder, those with Asperger’s have problems with their social skills. Children with Asperger’s have difficulty interacting with other children and adults. They feel and act awkward is social settings. They also have a harder time portraying and understanding emotion cues or sarcasm, which also makes communication and socializing harder. This behavior is also the reason why the disorder may go undiagnosed for many years. Parents, teachers, and peers consider children with Asperger’s as being socially awkward or “weird,” instead of seeing the true issue.
Children with Asperger’s also tend to have compulsive and repetitive behaviors. Their compulsive behavior can be seen in habitual movements, such as hand wringing or chewing on objects. Those with Asperger’s will also have an intense interest in one school subject or hobby, such as math or running. They tend to also have hard time doing an activity or routine out of their learned order. This symptom can be frustrating for a parent or other siblings.
Physically, children with Asperger’s can do anything other children can do. However, they tend to lack coordination and may appear clumsy. Mentally, children Asperger’s are of normal intelligence, but because of their compulsive behavior, they may tend to focus and excel exceptionally in one area over the others
How is Asperger’s Diagnosed?
Many doctors use several different tests and assessments to diagnose Asperger’s. Asperger’s affects males more than females, and the disorder can be hereditary.
How is Asperger’s Treated?
Asperger’s is not a curable disorder, but it can be treated and monitored. Early intervention can lead to success later in life. Many adults with Asperger’s have an easier time communicating and functioning inside relationships, families, and the workplace with the proper treatments.
Some treatment methods are specialized education and therapy. While a child with Asperger’s may be at the same IQ level as other children their age, a specialized education plan may be better suited for his or her needs and interests. The use of speech, physical, and occupational therapy can also help a child develop and increase their social, learning, and physical abilities.
Many individuals with Asperger’s, as well as parents with children who have Asperger’s find relief in the diagnosis. It is reassuring to learn that they are not just “weird” by society’s standards; instead, those with Asperger’s process information and social situations differently. Knowing the diagnosis allows for a better parent-child relationship, as well as better relationships with children with Asperger’s and their peers.
Photo by Christina Spicuzza