Asperger's Syndrome: Symptoms And Causes
Asperger’s Syndrome comes under the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which means it is similar to autism. But those affected by Asperger’s Syndrome function better can interact more with others and are able to learn and communicate more efficiently.
Asperger’s Syndrome was recognized under separate diagnosis in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM) until 2013, after which all forms of autism were added to one umbrella diagnosis, called Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Asperger’s Syndrome is characterized by a condition associated with brain development that can cause unusual social behavior and difficulty in perceiving and communicating with others. Repetitive behavior pattern is also reflective in a person suffering from Asperger’s.
No such cure or treatment is listed for Autism Spectrum Disorder but various therapy sessions can help individuals to cope with their behavioral and social disorders.
Symptoms Of Asperger’s Syndrome:
The symptoms of this condition can be categorized into three major areas:
1. Emotional and Behavioural Pattern:
- Repetitive behavior or actions is a major part of any person’s personality affected by Asperger’s.
- Difficulty in perceiving human emotions: People affected by this condition face issue in interpreting social and human emotions such as grief, love or frustration. They may even lack concern or empathy while reacting towards someone else’s words or actions.
- Emotional outburst: Inability to understand and cope with feelings and emotions can result in an exaggerated emotional response in a person struggling with Asperger’s syndrome.
- They respond to sensory stimuli in unusual manner: They can either be over sensitive or under sensitive to conditions or sensations. For example, deliberately staying in dark, smelling objects or touching people or objects frequently.
2. Communication Symptoms:
- Inability to interact: People with Asperger’s are not able to interact socially that well and face difficulty in striking conversations with others.
- Unusual speech pattern: It is very common among people with Asperger’s syndrome to have repetitive or robotic speech patterns. They may also find it difficult to lower down their voice or speak louder if required.
- Poor nonverbal skills: People suffering from this syndrome may find it difficult to make hand gestures, facial expression or other body actions.
- No eye contact: A person with this syndrome won’t make eye contact while interacting with you.
- Good vocabulary: People with Asperger’s Syndrome tend to have good verbal skills such as strong vocabulary in any particular area of interest.
3. Other Symptoms:
Clumsiness: Adults affected with Asperger’s lack of coordination skills while carrying out any task and may face difficulty in performing day to day activities like sitting or walking properly. This is due to the lack of motor nerve coordination.
Obsession: Adults with Asperger’s Syndrome can have a strong understanding of any particular topic and can exhibit good vocabulary related to that topic as well.
When Should One Visit A Doctor?
Children with Asperger’s Syndrome start showing symptoms of late development within the first two years. They may show unusual or slow skills in social interaction and behavioral pattern. Few such symptoms in any child with Asperger’s syndrome include:
- Does not respond with a smile or happy expression by 6 months
- Does not perform any gesture such as wave or point out by 14 months
- Does not mimic expressions by 9 months
- Does not utter start speaking by 16 months
- Does not say two words phrases by 24 months
- Loses language or social skills at any age
If you are concerned about whether your child has Asperger’s Syndrome or not, you can discuss the symptoms evident in your child and the doctor can recommend developmental tests to check whether those symptoms are relevant to this condition or not.
Causes Of Asperger’s Syndrome:
Different genes seem to be involved in Autism Spectrum Disorder (AST), such as genetic disorders namely Rett Syndrome or Fragile X Syndrome. Genetic mutations can also increase the risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder in children. Some of these genes seem to be inherited while few occur voluntarily.
Studies are still going on to conclude whether environmental factors such as viral infections, medications or complications during pregnancy can cause Autism Spectrum Disorder or not.
What Causes An Increased Risk Of Autism Spectrum Disorder?
- Gender: Boys are four times more vulnerable to develop this condition than girls.
- Family History: There is a higher probability of the occurrence of the disease if there is a past record of any child in the family born with the syndrome.
- Other Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions can trigger the presence of Autism Spectrum Disorder or autism-like symptoms. These include Fragile X Syndrome, which causes intellectual problems; Tuberous Sclerosis, which can cause the development of tumors in the brain and Rett Syndrome, a genetic disorder that occurs only in girls causing slow mental development, poor intellectual skills, and bad hand gesture.
- Premature Born Babies: Babies born within 26 weeks of gestation period are at an increased risk of getting Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Complications Arising From Asperger’s Syndrome:
Poor social and behavioral pattern can cause:
- Slow learning process
- Employment or job issues
- Inability to lead an independent life
- Social isolation
- Mental stress or rift in the family
- Being bullied
Asperger's Disease Prevention and Treatment:
There is no way to prevent or eradicate Asperger’s Syndrome and early detection and treatment options can help one a lot to improve the behavioral and social skillset and language expertise. Early detection can help in maintaining a better lifestyle pattern and function well. Nevertheless, intervention at any age is beneficial.
How Is Asperger’s Syndrome Dealt With In Adults?
1. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy:
Therapy sessions can help an adult with Asperger’s to deal with a few emotional outcomes of autism such as social isolation and anxiety. They may also help one to develop socially engaging skills so that interacting with others become less stressful and difficult.
2. Speech Therapy:
Such therapy can help in improving speech patterns and voice modulation.
Vocational Therapy: For adults facing issues in career-related fields, vocational therapy can be beneficial for them to know how to cope up with problems occurring at the workplace.
Few drugs can be prescribed to treat symptoms like anxiety or hyperactivity in adulthood. Many health professionals can also suggest medications to reduce signs of Asperger’s Syndrome. A few examples of such medicines are antipsychotics, stimulants, and serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
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