Asperger’s Syndrome is a form of autism. It is the mildest form of the autism spectrum disorders. This condition is a neurobiological disorder and is also classified as a pervasive developmental disorder (aka PDD). So what does all this mean in simple terms?
A person with Asperger’s Syndrome displays significant lack of social interaction capabilities. In addition, they exhibit repetitive and limited areas of interest, restricted activities and few interests.
People with this condition usually have an average to above average IQ and can have an extensive vocabulary and good command of their language but are not able to use the language appropriately in social situations.
Parents sometimes notice the symptoms but usually it is not noticed until a child gets into a social environment such as pre-school where their lack of social interaction is noticed.
Here are some of the more common symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome;
1. Choosing to play alone when in social situations
2. Lack of responsiveness
3. Lack of display of normal body language in social interactions eg. Facial expressions
4. Appearing unaware of others’ emotions
5. Restrictive and repetitive behavior
6. Obsessive attachment to certain objects
7. Clumsy bodily movements
8. Hyper Sensitivity to strong tastes or textures, bright lights or loud noises
9. Inflexibility in the way they must do certain tasks
10. Speech often lacks tone, pitch, and accent variations.
11. Avoiding eye contact during a conversation
Asperger’s Syndrome may also be referred to as high functioning autism (HFA), pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified (PDD – NOS), atypical PDD, or even nonverbal learning disability (NLD).
Boys are the ones who mostly have this condition and while there is no known cure for it at this time, there are remedies that can help the patient live a normal life. Based on the symptoms above it might have become obvious to you that the areas in which a person with this condition would excel in life would be those that do not require social interaction or skills.
As far as the causes of this condition there is not enough conclusive evidence so further research needs to be done to pinpoint the causes.
Here are some treatments used for the Asperger’s Syndrome;
1. Herbal Remedies can be helpful. Here is information on one from Native
2. Social Skills Training – this is essential and can be very helpful in getting the patient more comfortable around others.
3. Specialized Education – unless the child is able to handle regular education classes it will be necessary to get them specialized education with teachers who know how to handle children with this syndrome.
4. Play Therapy – to teach social interaction skills
5. Diet – parents have reported that their children behave better when certain foods are eliminated such as gluten,wheat, dairy products, sugar, artificial coloring and MSG as some examples.
It is important to find a network or doctors with a deep understanding of this condition as you may need help dealing with many aspects of it from diet ( a nutritionist) mental and mood issues ( a psychiatrist may be called for) and your primary care physician.
Where possible avoid drugs as these typically have long term harmful side effects.