Asperger’s Syndrome

What is Asperger’s Syndrome?

Asperger’s Syndrome was considered a disorder of its own. In 2013, it worked its way into the category of disorders known as the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) range. Even though the disorder is now classified in the ASD group, it is still isolated as its own disorder by the majority of the population.

Asperger’s is considered a communication disorder and is usually recognized by the obsessive focus the person develops in one or more topics. It is also easy to recognize because the person tends to repeat the same action and behaviors repeatedly.

What are the Symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome?

The symptoms of Asperger’s are very easy to notice extremely early in life. The symptoms are usually noticed by parents long before anyone outside the home.

Symptoms include

  • Difficulty maintaining eye contact
  • Difficulty managing social situations
  • Unable to respond appropriately in verbal interactions
  • Unable to decipher facial expressions or body language
  • Unable to show emotions, may seem emotionally robotic
  • May focus solely on their own needs
  • Focus in on specific subjects they are interested in. Usually the topic is very literal.
  • Resistant to change. May expect the same thing to occur day after day.

Asperger’s Syndrome Causes

There is not a specific cause for Asperger’s syndrome, but several things are suspected to contribute to the cause, including genetics, brain differences, and mirror neurons.

Genetics are widely accepted as one of the main causes for Aspergers, which is the reason it is characterized as a neurobiological condition. Kids who have Aspergers typically have relatives or parents with similar but limited symptoms to Aspergers. A group of genes combines which causes someone to develop Aspergers, and this gene combination determines how severe and which symptoms each person with Aspergers has.

Brain development for those diagnosed with Aspergers is hindered shortly after conception. Cells move to the brain in atypical ways, which cause connections to be underdeveloped.

Mirror neurons in those diagnosed with Aspergers are different from those who do not have Aspergers. The circuits of the mirror neurons are what cause imitation to be delayed when observing familiar actions. Mirror neurons that are not correctly developed can have an impact on the ways in which people with Aspergers recognize why and how others act.

How is Asperger’s Syndrome Treated?

Every person who is diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder has different symptoms. Because of this, treatment is different for each and every person. Treatment for Asperger’s involves symptom management, behavioral therapy and regular visits to a psychologist to help the person manage emotions behavioral problems.

Treatments include:

  • Training in Social Skills
  • Speech Therapy to develop language
  • Behavioral or cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Education for the parent in how to manage symptoms
  • Behavioral analysis
  • Medication for symptoms that are extremely problematic

Medication is rarely prescribed for Asperger’s itself. The majority of medications prescribed are for underlying disorders that are common with Asperger’s. For example, it is very common for children with Asperger’s to have underlying ADHD, or for ADHD to mask Asperger’s.

Medication

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Stimulant medications
  • Antipsychotic medications

Asperger’s Syndrome Prevention

There is no known prevention for Asperger’s syndrome. While there are several suspected causes, there is still a lot about the condition that is not known. There is not a predictor or test that can identify if a baby has the condition while in utero. The diagnosis is typically done in early childhood after symptoms or common traits appear.

There is a debate about whether or not Asperger’s syndrome should be prevented, as many of the greatest creators and thinkers had Asperger’s syndrome, including Albert Einstein, Vincent Van Gogh, Thomas Jefferson, Michael Jackson, and many more.

Therapies that may assist in managing Asperger’s syndrome are music therapy and vitamin B6. Prompt treatment and early diagnosis are important for the long-term management of the disease.

There is no known prevention for Asperger’s syndrome. While there are several suspected causes, there is still a lot about the condition that is not known. There is not a predictor or test that can identify if a baby has the condition while in utero. The diagnosis is typically done in early childhood after symptoms or common traits appear.

There is a debate about whether or not Asperger’s syndrome should be prevented, as many of the greatest creators and thinkers had Asperger’s syndrome, including Albert Einstein, Vincent Van Gogh, Thomas Jefferson, Michael Jackson, and many more.

Therapies that may assist in managing Asperger’s syndrome are music therapy and vitamin B6. Prompt treatment and early diagnosis are important for the long-term management of the disease.

Asperger’s Syndrome
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Last Reviewed:
September 12, 2016
Last Updated:
November 10, 2017
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