Asperger's Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment

Asperger’s syndrome (AS) is a high-functioning form of autism. Autism is a brain developmental condition that affects social, emotional, and communication skills.

Asperger’s syndrome, autism, childhood disintegrative disorder and an unspecified form of pervasive developmental disorder were previously considered separate. In 2013, all were combined under one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (DSM-5).

Symptoms

Asperger’s syndrome is considered a high-functioning form of autism since one’s language and cognitive skills are largely intact. You may find someone with Asperger’s syndrome as smart as other folks, but incapable of handling social activities, because Asperger’s syndrome affects social skills, the ability to effectively interact and communicate with people.

You may also notice people with the condition:

  • engage in repetitive behaviors
  • being detail-oriented
  • have interest in systemizing
  • show obsession
  • follow rigid routines and be resistant to changes
  • show incredible facility in a narrowly focused and usually non-social area, such as train schedules
  • avoid eye contact

Causes

The root causes of Asperger’s syndrome and autism remain unknown. Current research points to brain abnormalities. The abnormal migration of embryonic cells during fetal development goes on to alter the brain circuits, leading to structural and functional differences in specific regions of the brain.

Genetic factor may be a contributor since the condition tends to run in families. For example, identical twins are more likely to both have autism.

Certain environmental factors also elevate the risk of developing autism, such as older parental age, exposure to the drug valproate in utero, and low birth weight.

Boys are far more likely than girls to be diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, but this could be because girls with AS are often overlooked or misdiagnosed.

Diagnosis

There isn’t a specific medical test to determine if you have the disorder.
Autism spectrum disorder varies widely in symptoms and severity, making a diagnosis difficult.

A child psychiatrist or psychologist, and pediatric neurologist, or developmental pediatrician, usually treat ASD and they’ll be able to make an evaluation.

Treatment

No cure exists for Asperger’s syndrome.

The treatment is to reduce autism spectrum disorder symptoms and support development and learning. Research shows that early intervention during the preschool years can help children learn critical social, communication, functional and behavioral skills and improve development.

Related Posts:

Autism Spectrum Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment

Risks of In Utero Exposure to Valproate

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.