Asperger’s Syndrome is the name given to a condition that affects social and communication skills. Someone who is diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome has an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, though it differs from classical Autism in several ways. Continue you reading to learn about the Asperger syndrome diagnostic scale.
People with Asperger’s syndrome may be diagnosed in childhood or in adulthood. The diagnosis criteria for Asperger’s Syndrome are laid down in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorder (DSM) but this needs to be supplemented with other information gleaned from other diagnostic tools to create a full picture of the individual concerned.
One such tool that is used in the diagnosis of children or young people is the Asperger’s Syndrome Diagnostic Scale.
People with Asperger’s Syndrome suffer from the same ‘Triad of Impairments’ that classical Autistic people struggle with, these being difficulties with:
Every person with Asperger’s Syndrome or Autism is unique and has different levels of difficulty with different aspects of the Triad and other impairments. They may also have co-morbid conditions such as ADHD, dyspraxia, dyslexia or Tourette’s Syndrome.
Although under the new DSM-V criteria there is no longer a separate diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome (instead, a general diagnosis of Autism is given), there are differences in how the two conditions present. Generally, people with Asperger’s Syndrome have symptoms that are less severe and they do not experience any delays with language development.
They frequently have good cognitive abilities and may have language skills that surpass that of other people of their age – children with Asperger’s often use elaborate language that makes them appear older than they are.
People with Asperger’s Syndrome want to fit in among their peers and often report feeling ‘different’ from others – this is in contrast to people with classical Autism, who tend to appear aloof, disinterested in others and unaware of social expectations or customs.
Despite this desire to conform, people with Asperger’s Syndrome often lack the skills necessary to do so and may appear socially awkward, or do or say things that other people consider inappropriate.
Contrary to popular understanding, people with Asperger’s do have considerable levels of empathy, but this may appear lacking at times because they do not always recognise emotions in others – and if they do not recognise an emotion (or an emotion is displayed that they would not feel in the same set of circumstances) then they cannot empathise with it.
They may walk away in the middle of a conversation, fail to acknowledge that another person has spoken to them or miss key non-verbal communication or sarcasm in conversation.
Asperger syndrome diagnostic scale: This is a diagnostic tool that makes it easier for practitioners to accurately provide a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. It is quick and easy to deliver, using ‘yes/no’ questions to establish whether Asperger’s Syndrome is present. It may be completed as part of an overall assessment process, but it can also be used by anyone who knows the child well.
This means that parents, other family members or teachers could complete it, as well as psychiatrists, speech therapists or psychologists who may make up an Autism assessment team.
The Asperger’s Syndrome Diagnostic Scale is aimed at aiding diagnosis in children and young people aged between five and 18 where Asperger’s Syndrome is suspected.
There are 50 questions that cover a range of behaviors including:
The answers are collated and produce an Asperger’s Syndrome Quotient, which aids diagnosis by separating out those aspects of the diagnosis from other symptoms that may be typical of other conditions such as ADHD or learning difficulties.
The higher the Quotient, the more likely the child is to be diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.
The Asperger's Syndrome Diagnostic Scale is not only used to aid diagnosis but can be used repeatedly over time to map progress in the key behavior areas listed above, as therapies and coping strategies are taught and absorbed to aid the person with Asperger’s Syndrome in better understanding the world around them.
The Scale can also be used to plan interventions based on which areas the child is particularly struggling with.