What Are the Characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome?
In this article, we take a look at Asperger’s syndrome, and describe its most common characteristics, how it differs from other autism disorders and how to treat it.
Asperger’s syndrome can be a difficult disorder for many parents to pick up since many children display Asperger’s characteristics as a normal part of their development. So it’s understandable why childhood Asperger’s is sometimes diagnosed a little later than other brain disorders on the autism spectrum.
We’re going to take a closer look at what Asperger’s syndrome is, along with some of its signs and characteristics, how it can be treated, and more.
What is Asperger’s Syndrome?
Asperger’s syndrome is a developmental disorder that falls into the autism spectrum. It’s a more mild type of brain disorder that affects behavior and makes it difficult for a person to communicate, interact, and form relationships with others.
Are Autism & Asperger’s Different?
As mentioned, Asperger’s is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD); however, it is not the same as an autistic disorder. The disorders that fall into the ASD group include:
- Autistic disorder
- Rett syndrome
- Childhood disintegrative disorder (CDD; also known as Heller’s syndrome)
- Asperger’s syndrome
- Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified.
In general, these disorders are characterized in varying degrees by:
- Difficulties in social interaction
- Verbal and nonverbal communication
- Repetitive behaviors.
What are the signs of Asperger’s?
It’s important to be aware of the Asperger’s signs and characteristics and how these set it apart from other diagnoses on the spectrum. Keep in mind that it is perfectly normal for toddlers to exhibit some of these symptoms, such as repetitiveness or one-sided conversations.
These are some of the most common signs of Asperger’s to keep an eye out for:
- Displaying unusual nonverbal communication: Asperger’s and eye contact rarely go together, so avoiding eye contact is one of the first symptoms; also a limited number of facial expressions or awkward body positions and gestures.
- Engaging in one-sided and long-winded conversations without noticing if the listener is paying attention or if the listener is trying to change the subject.
- Appearing to not understand, be sensitive to, or empathize with the feelings of others.
- Showing an intense obsession with one or two specific and narrow subjects such as the weather, snakes, basketball stats, or train schedules.
- Difficulty “reading” other people or getting the gist of humor or sarcasm.
- Speaking in a rigid, monotonous voice or speaking unusually fast.
- Clumsy movement and poor coordination.
It’s worth noting that there are some characteristics of Asperger’s that should be considered strengths. These include (but are not limited to):
- Strong ability to focus
- Ability to recognize patterns
- Attention to detail.
What Causes Asperger’s?
Although the cause of Asperger’s syndrome is not yet fully understood, there is a strong belief that it has a genetic basis and runs in families.
There are also some environmental risk factors associated with an increased risk of developing autism spectrum disorders, including:
- Older parental age
- Low birth weight
- Exposure to the drug valproate in utero.
Treatment for Asperger’s
A holistic treatment program for children with Asperger’s is the best possible plan. The combination of speech therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, along with the right support and medication, will benefit your child the most.
Get the Best Treatment for Your Child
Lighthouse Autism Center provides compassionate, center-based ABA (applied behavior analysis) therapy and services for children with autism disorders. Our one-of-a-kind approach combines compassionate care with clinical excellence to give every child the best possible treatment.
Contact us for more information on how we can help your child.