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Asperger’s Signs and Symptoms

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 
  • Persistence 
  • 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.

Community Resources for Autism in Elkhart, Indiana

Have you ever heard the phrase, “it takes a village?” For families with autism, this is especially true as they try to provide the best quality of life for their loved one with autism. With 1 in 58 children diagnosed with autism, it is likely you or someone you know is affected by autism. Not only is it important that a strong family unit is in place for someone with autism, but, it’s also important that they have access to community resources that can assist them, such as recreational therapies, autism services, support groups, and more. In order to better support families with autism, Lighthouse has compiled a list of local autism resources in Elkhart, Indiana. Below, you will find a list of organizations that may be able to assist families with autism in Elkhart, Indiana.

ADEC Family Services

Contact Information: 574-848-7451 or www.adecinc.com
Caring and highly trained staff within ADEC’s Family Services are committed to working with your family to ensure the best possible development and community involvement for your child. For children, this is accomplished through offering summer camp, after school care, transitions, parental assistance for waivers and services, a sibling support group, autism services, a game group for young adults and music and recreational therapies. ADEC also provides services for adults with developmental disabilities, including supported employment, day services, residential services, and protective/legal services.

Anabaptist Disability Network

Contact Information: 574-343-1362 or www.adnetonline.org
Resources for churches and other groups who support the spiritual lives of families and persons who live with all types of disabilities, including mental illness.

Asberger/Autism Support Group of Goshen

Contact Information: 574-742-6394
Currently an online support group with occasional informal meetings. Information posted on the private Facebook group page.

Bashor Children’s Home

Contact Information:574-875-5117 or http://bashor.org/HOME.aspx
Offers education, residential, and community-based services for individuals.

Healthy Beginnings

Contact Information: 574-522-0104 or www.elkhartcountyhealth.org/healthybeginnings/index.html
Healthy Beginnings offers four programs aimed at prevention, education and early intervention to enhance the health and lives of infants, young children and pregnant and/or breastfeeding women.

Loveway Therapeutic Equestrian Services

Contact Information: 574-825-5666 or www.lovewayinc.org
LoveWay, Inc. provides therapeutic horseback riding for people with physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities of all ages.

Oaklawn

Contact Information: 574-533-1234  or www.oaklawn.org
Oaklawn joins with individuals, families, and our community on the journey toward health and wholeness by offering a comprehensive range of mental health and addiction services for children, adolescents, adults, and seniors.

The Voice: Parent Support Group

Contact Information: 574-848-2446
This group is the collaboration of ADEC, GPS, and the United Way.
It is a support group for parents of students in special education.

 

For more information regarding autism related resources in Elkhart, Indiana, contact the Family Outreach Coordinator at Lighthouse Autism Center at 574-387-4313.

Center-Based ABA Therapy

In June of 2012 there was a major federal policy change that took place that provided more families living with autism access to Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy. Now, nearly all states require health insurance plans to cover ABA therapy.

Many people will agree that ABA therapy is something that can be done in a variety of environments, including a school environment, home environment and center-based environment. However, studies show that ABA is most effective when done 1 on 1 in an intensive, center-based environment.

Because ABA therapy is highly individualized and each program is uniquely designed for a child, it becomes difficult to implement these programs in a school environment. Schools often are dealing with budget and staffing constraints which makes it challenging to implement ABA therapy in a school setting.

A center-based program also allows children to interact with other children and therapists, work on not only social and communication skills, but also daily living skills, and it provides the opportunity to work on further “real world” situations outside of the classroom.

So what are some factors you should consider when looking for an ABA center?

  • Safe and welcoming environment
  • Educated staff (credentials and experience as well as passion matter)
  • Child-to-therapist ratio
  • BCBA caseload size
  • Open communication
  • Parental involvement

Always request a tour and ask about the process for enrollment. See if they offer assistance to the family such as support groups and education.

If you would like to learn more about center-based ABA therapy, please contact Lighthouse Autism Center’s Family Outreach Coordinator at 574-387-4313.

Does Frankenstein have Autism?

 

During a presentation on autism to a third grade class today, our Outreach Coordinator received a rather amusing question, “Does Frankenstein have autism?”  With Halloween so close it is certainly understandable why a child might pose such a question. Frankenstein is definitely different. He might not look the same as most people, or speak the same way, or act the same way. While this doesn’t necessarily mean Frankenstein has autism, one can understand why a child being introduced to autism for the first time might think so.

As part of the autism community, we believe it is our responsibility to not only fulfill our mission of providing quality ABA therapy to communities that need it, but we also to spread awareness about autism and educate our community.  When a local grade school teacher approached us to give a presentation to her third grade class, we knew this is something we wanted to do, although we had never done it before! By educating our youth, we teach them about what autism is, what it looks like, and things to keep in mind when interacting with someone who has autism. While someone with autism might act differently, hear things differently, or see things differently, it doesn’t mean they can’t be our friend or can’t do the same things we do. It is important that children understand how to accept the differences that come with autism, or any other disability, disease, etc… and know that it is ok to be different. We are so glad to have had this opportunity to teach local children about autism and look forward to having the opportunity to do it again in the future.