Asperger's Syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.Children with Asperger's syndrome typically function better than do those with autism.
The American Psychiatric Association formalized the diagnosis of Asperger's in 1994, 50 years after it was first described by Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger. But the association plans to remove the term "Asperger's" from its new diagnostic manual, set for release in 2013 -- a decision that has sparked criticism from advocacy groups.
The disorder can also include motor clumsiness and problems with handwriting and being hypersensitive to specific auditory and tactile experiences. There can also be problems with organisational and time management skills and explaining thoughts and ideas using speech.
The person usually has a strong desire to seek knowledge, truth and perfection with a different set of priorities than would be expected with other people. There is also a different perception of situations and sensory experiences. The overriding priority may be to solve a problem rather than satisfy the social or emotional needs of others.
Compared with those affected by other forms of ASD, however, those with Asperger syndrome do not have significant delays or difficulties in language or cognitive development. Some even demonstrate precocious vocabulary – often in a highly specialized field of interest.
For instance, someone with Asperger syndrome might initiate conversations with others by extensively relating facts related to a particular topic of interest. He or she may resist discussing anything else and have difficulty allowing others to speak. Often, they don’t notice that others are no longer listening or are uncomfortable with the topic. They may lack the ability to “see things” from the other person’s perspective.
Another common symptom is an inability to understand the intent behind another person’s actions, words and behaviors. So children and adults affected by Asperger syndrome may miss humor and other implications. Similarly, they may not instinctually respond to such “universal” nonverbal cues such as a smile, frown or “come here” motion.
People with Asperger syndrome and other autism spectrum disorders usually struggle to pick up nonverbal social cues. They often prefer the kind of thinking involved in chess and math
Unlike other children (and adults) with an ASD, those with AS (Asperger's syndrome) have average IQs and are pretty much just as likely to have learning disabilities as those without AS.
Usually the child with AD chooses to eat the same food each day, wear the same clothing, or play the same video game, whereas the child with OCD is looking for sameness in his/her daily routines.
The exact cause of Asperger's syndrome is unknown. Research suggests that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may account for changes in brain development. The fact that Asperger's syndrome tends to run in families suggests that a predisposition to develop the disorder may be inherited. The syndrome may be passed on from parent to child.