Signs In Developmental Period
- In order to be diagnosed with autism, symptoms must have been present in the early developmental period of a persons life. It can be difficult to pick up on signs and characteristics of autism for many parents, as raising a child in something that is very new to most people. For parents that already have a child diagnosed with autism, they may be more aware of the signs of autism so they pick up on these earlier. Or for other parents that have an older child that is typically developing, they also may pick up on the signs of autism earlier as they have a child to compare development with. See our signs and checklist for children with autism page for more information.
- For many adults, they many only become aware of the signs or characteristics of autism in relation to their own behaviours later in life. When they then think back over their life they may start to identify how autism may have impacted their life at different moments such as realising that others seemed to know what others were thinking when they found it difficult to read peoples emotions. Many adults with autism have learnt strategies to support their challenges throughout their lifetime. It is therefore important to think about what signs or characteristics were present at a young age when seeking a diagnosis as an adult. See our signs and checklist for adults with autism page for more information.
Repetitive Behaviours And Routines
The world can seem a very unpredictable and confusing place to people with Asperger syndrome, who often prefer to have a daily routine so that they know what is going to happen every day. They may want to always travel the same way to and from school or work, or eat exactly the same food for breakfast.The use of rules can also be important. It may be difficult for someone to take a different approach to something once they have been taught the ‘right’ way to do it. They may not be comfortable with the idea of change, but may be able to cope better if they can prepare for changes in advance.
Treatment For Children With Autism
Learning about the difference between autism and Aspergers is helpful, but taking action is even more important. At Therapeutic Pathways, we encourage parents to seek treatment for their child as early as possible. Research suggests that early intervention provides the best opportunity for children to learn valuable independent life skills.
For more information about treatment options, contact Therapeutic Pathways at 422-3280.
How Aspergers And Autism Are Similar
While there are some differences between Aspergers and autism, the disorders share a lot of the same symptoms. Children with both conditions may have:
- Difficulty maintaining relationships
- Problems expressing feelings or emotions
- Trouble maintaining eye contact
- Sensitivities to certain foods or sounds
- Issues with motor skills
- A desire to follow strict schedules
- An obsession with specific subjects
Both kids with autism and those with Aspergers may be perceived by others as awkward in social situations. Additionally, engaging in hand-flapping is common in those with both disorders.
What Is Asperger Syndrome
Asperger syndrome, or Aspergers, is a previously used diagnosis on the autism spectrum. In 2013, it became part of one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 .
Typical to strong verbal language skills and intellectual ability distinguish Asperger syndrome from other types of autism.
How Do People With Asperger Syndrome See The World
Some people with Asperger syndrome say the world feels overwhelming and this can cause them considerable anxiety. In particular, understanding and relating to other people, and taking part in everyday family, school, work and social life, can be harder. Other people appear to know, intuitively, how to communicate and interact with each other, yet can also struggle to build rapport with people with Asperger syndrome. People with Asperger syndrome may wonder why they are ‘different’ and feel their social differences mean people dont understand them.Autistic people often do not ‘look’ disabled. Some parents of autistic children say that other people simply think their child is naughty, while adults may find that they are misunderstood.
Difference No 4: Their Brains Are Wired And Shaped Differently
Some research has suggested that children with Aspergers syndrome have different brain patterns than those with autism.
In one study, scientists used electroencephalography to measure the amount of signaling that occurs between brain areas of children with Aspergers and those with autism.
Kids with Aspergers syndrome displayed different patterns of brain activity, which suggests differences in the way their brains are connected. Specifically, children with Aspergers may have stronger connections in the left hemisphere of the brain compared with autistic children.
Other researchers have found that a region of the brain that controls language has more folds in children with autism than in kids with Aspergers.
While this research offers intriguing clues about how the brains of people with autism and Aspergers may be different, more studies need to be done. Investigators continue to explore the brains of children to reveal more information.
Effect Of Intelligence Quotient
The IQ is mainly measured using two separate components, including performance and verbal levels. Studies have shown verbal and performance IQ differences between AS and normal people, although the findings are controversial The effect of IQ has been more studied in behavioral and cognitive level, therefore, in this section some of the related studies are reviewed.
1.3.1. Performance IQ
A brief report on profiling of the intelligence in AS has been presented by . The ability was assessed by Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale , which is a valid indicator of IQ . This test is recommended as the best measurement of IQ in high functioning individuals . It is reported that Asperger patients have poor performance in digit symbol coding and symbol search . Studies have also supported weakness of AS patients in performance IQ, particularly in digit symbol coding and symbol search . Although there is evidence showing deficits of AS patients in coding but they could gain higher score in arithmetic and digit span . There are also studies that have focused on reaction time and they believe AS people use significant longer reaction time and need more prompt questions to solve a task . In addition, weakness in processing speed has been reported as well . Therefore, weakness in performance IQ and speed could be good criteria to distinguish AS.
What Are The Symptoms Of Aspergers Syndrome
Children with Aspergers Syndrome exhibit poor social interactions, obsessions, odd speech patterns, limited facial expressions and other peculiar mannerisms. They might engage in obsessive routines and show an unusual sensitivity to sensory stimuli.
While all children with Aspergers Syndrome are different, what sets them apart are their unusual social skills and obsessive interests. For a child with Aspergers Syndrome, you may see one or more of the following symptoms:
- Inappropriate or minimal social interactions
- Conversations that almost always revolve around themselves or a certain topic, rather than others
- Not understanding emotions well or having less facial expression than others
- Speech that sounds unusual, such as flat, high-pitched, quiet, loud, or robotic
- Not using or understanding nonverbal communication, such as gestures, body language and facial expression
- An intense obsession with one or two specific, narrow subjects
- Becoming upset at any small changes in routines
- Memorizing preferred information and facts easily
- Clumsy, uncoordinated movements, including difficulty with handwriting
- Difficulty managing emotions, sometimes leading to verbal or behavioral outbursts, self-injurious behaviors or tantrums
- Not understanding other peoples feelings or perspectives
- Hypersensitivity to lights, sounds and textures
How You Get A Diagnosis
If you notice signs in your child, see your pediatrician. They can refer you to a mental health expert who specializes in ASDs, like one of these:
Psychologist. They diagnose and treat problems with emotions and behavior.
Pediatric neurologist. They treat conditions of the brain.
Developmental pediatrician. They specialize in speech and language issues and other developmental problems.
Psychiatrist. They have expertise in mental health conditions and can prescribe medicine to treat them.
The condition is often treated with a team approach. That means you might see more than one doctor for your child’s care.
The doctor will ask questions about your child’s behavior, including:
- What symptoms do they have, and when did you first notice them?
- When did your child first learn to speak, and how do theyÂ communicate?
- Are they focused on any subjects or activities?
- Do they have friends, and how do they interact with others?
Then they’ll observe your child in different situations to see firsthand how they communicate and behave.
Causes And Risk Factors
We do not know all of the causes of ASD. However, we have learned that there are likely many causes for multiple types of ASD. There may be many different factors that make a child more likely to have an ASD, including environmental, biologic and genetic factors.
- Most scientists agree that genes are one of the risk factors that can make a person more likely to develop ASD.4, 19
- Children who have a sibling with ASD are at a higher risk of also having ASD. 5-10
- Individuals with certain genetic or chromosomal conditions, such as fragile X syndrome or tuberous sclerosis, can have a greater chance of having ASD. 11-14, 20
- When taken during pregnancy, the prescription drugs valproic acid and thalidomide have been linked with a higher risk of ASD.15-16
- There is some evidence that the critical period for developing ASD occurs before, during, and immediately after birth.
- Children born to older parents are at greater risk for having ASD.
ASD continues to be an important public health concern. Like the many families living with ASD, CDC wants to find out what causes the disorder. Understanding the factors that make a person more likely to develop ASD will help us learn more about the causes. We are currently working on one of the largest U.S. studies to date, called Study to Explore Early Development . SEED is looking at many possible risk factors for ASD, including genetic, environmental, pregnancy, and behavioral factors.
Treatment Options For Autism
Every individual with autism is unique. They face different challenges and have various strengths. There is no specific treatment that will fit all.
There may also be additional medical conditions with autism, such as gastrointestinal issues. Addressing these conditions will improve the quality of life for the individual.
Therapies targeting communication and social skills as well as therapies that will teach other skills will also benefit the individual.
Treatment should be personalized for the individuals specific needs. The treatment can involve behavioral interventions, therapies, or medication.
The following are used as treatment and interventions, by themselves or in combination with one another:
- Applied Behavior Analysis
- Occupational Therapy
Asperger Therapies And Services
Find the following services near you using the Autism Speaks Resource Guide.
Cognitive behavioral therapy can help address anxiety and other personal challenges.
Social skills training classes can help with conversational skills and understanding social cues.
Speech therapy can help with voice control.
Physical and occupational therapy can improve coordination.
Psychoactive medicines can help manage associated anxiety, depression and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder .
Aspergers: Does It Even Exist Anymore
You should know that Aspergers isnt officially recognized as its own syndrome anymore.
The American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders no longer considers Aspergers syndrome a separate disorder. Since 2013, doctors have been instructed to diagnose Aspergers and autism both as autism spectrum disorders.
Despite this newer classification, many experts believe that children and adults with Aspergers have clear-cut symptoms that set them apart from those with autism. Indeed, the lumping of autism spectrum disorders has caused quite a bit of debate in the medical community.
Who Diagnoses Aspergers Syndrome
An ASD diagnosis should be made by professionals specifically trained for it. Often pediatricians are best equipped to accurately examine a childs pattern of development and their relative strengths and weaknesses. These professionals include:
- Pediatricians .
- Child psychologists or psychiatrists .
- Neurologists .
- Therapists .
You may need to see one or more of these specialists while trying to get a diagnosis. The process may take some time, but it can help you learn more and find additional support networks.
Is It Autism Or Aspergers
Aspergers Syndrome became part of the umbrella diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The symptoms of autism and Aspergers mostly overlap. Symptoms that distinguish Aspergers from Autism diagnosis is the typical strong verbal language skills.
Individuals with Aspergers Syndrome have difficulty in:
- Social interactions
- Tendency to stick to routines
- Distinctive strengths
These vary from one person to another, just like ASD.
In addition to the symptoms above, individuals with autism strongly struggle with delayed language and communication.
If you feel like your child is suffering from delayed speech, they might be on the spectrum.
Treatments For Aspergers Syndrome
There is no one treatment for autism, and autism does not mean anything is wrong with you that needs to be cured. Treatment generally focuses on managing autism symptoms for instance, learning how to better communicate and reducing any repetitive behaviors that interfere with your life. Treatment options can include therapies and medications.
Behavior therapies address the social and behavioral issues that can cause distress for people with autism and interfere with their relationships. Family therapy can help family members learn the best way to interact with family members who have autism.
Speech or language therapy may be beneficial to help with issues like monotone speech. It may also help with understanding figures of speech and implied meaning. Occupational therapy can help with sensory integration, and physical therapy may be helpful with balance and coordination issues.
There is no medication that can treat the core characteristics of autism, but there are medications that can help with some symptoms. Certain medications can be prescribed for the hyperactivity that some autistic people experience, for example. Antidepressants may help with anxiety. Its important to keep all doctors involved up to date on all medications since some can interact and cause adverse effects.
Do Treatment Options Differ For Aspergers And Autism
Neither what was previously diagnosed as Aspergers nor autism is a medical condition that needs to be treated.
Those diagnosed with autism are considered neurodivergent. Autistic behaviors arent considered whats socially typical. But that doesnt mean that autism indicates theres anything wrong with you.
Whats most important is that you or someone in your life whos been diagnosed with autism know that theyre loved, accepted, and supported by the people around them.
Not everyone in the autism community agrees that autistic people dont need medical treatment.
Theres an ongoing debate between those who see autism as a disability that needs medical treatment and those who see autism treatment in the form of securing disability rights, like fair employment practices and healthcare coverage.
Here are some
Difference No 3: Time Of Diagnosis
The average age of diagnosis for a child with autism is around age 4.
Because kids with Aspergers typically dont exhibit language delays or have lower IQs, theyre often misdiagnosed or not diagnosed until much later, sometimes in the teen or adult years.
Many parents may not realize that their son or daughter has Aspergers until he or she starts interacting with peers or participating in social activities.
Aspergers is often misdiagnosed as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder . Although these conditions are sometimes both present, Aspergers is different from ADHD in that its a problem with socializing, rather than a problem with focusing attention.
Is Aspergers Syndrome A Disability
Everyone has a unique personality and different strengths. People with Aspergers syndrome are no different. But if you or your loved one are finding it difficult to get or keep work due to Aspergers syndrome symptoms, there is help. You may be able to qualify for disability under the Disability Evaluation Under Social Security Section 12.10, Mental Disorders. For more information, check with your provider and social security contact person.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
If you think that you or your loved one might have Aspergers syndrome, or if youre a teacher or caregiver concerned about someone you know, your first step is to contact your healthcare provider. In addition to discussing this with a professional, there is a lot of information about ASD and Aspergers syndrome that is available, along with information on support groups. It helps always to be open-minded and realize that everyone has strengths and opportunities to improve.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/02/2021.
Language Domain In Asperger Syndrome
There is no difference between High Functioning Autism and AS in verbal skills but their history of language acquisition is different . History of language acquisition and the time at which language is acquired, is crucial for configuration of AS phenotype . AS individuals show no problem in literal semantic processing, which is a rule-based task. However, they have deficit in violating processing, like metaphors . They make more mistakes in appropriate metaphoric sentences than in scrambled metaphors. These findings indicate intact automatic metaphor processing in AS . In addition to metaphor comprehension , AS individuals have difficulty in social interactions and understanding sarcasm which are related to less activity of right brain hemisphere in AS group.
Restricted And Repetitive Interests And Behavior
People with Asperger syndrome can display behavior, interests, and activities that are restricted and repetitive and are sometimes abnormally intense or focused. They may stick to inflexible routines, move in stereotyped and repetitive ways, preoccupy themselves with parts of objects, or engage in compulsive behaviors like lining objects up to form patterns.
The pursuit of specific and narrow areas of interest is one of the most striking among possible features of AS. Individuals with AS may collect volumes of detailed information on a relatively narrow topic such as weather data or star names without necessarily having a genuine understanding of the broader topic. For example, a child might memorize camera model numbers while caring little about photography. This behavior is usually apparent by age 5 or 6. Although these special interests may change from time to time, they typically become more unusual and narrowly focused and often dominate social interaction so much that the entire family may become immersed. Because narrow topics often capture the interest of children, this symptom may go unrecognized.
According to the Adult Asperger Assessment diagnostic test, a lack of interest in fiction and a positive preference towards non-fiction is common among adults with AS.
Diagnostic Criteria For Aspergers Syndrome
Heres a brief summary of the from the previous version of the DSM :
- having difficulty with verbal or nonverbal communication, such as eye contact or sarcasm
- having few or no long-term social relationships with peers
- lack of interest in taking part in activities or interests with others
- showing little to no response to social or emotional experiences
- having a sustained interest in a single special topic or very few topics
- strict adherence to routine or ritual behaviors
- repetitive behaviors or movements
- intense interest in specific aspects of objects
- experiencing difficulty in maintaining relationships, jobs, or other aspects of daily life because of these previously listed signs
- not having any delay in language learning or cognitive development typical of other, similar neurodevelopmental conditions
As of 2013, Aspergers is now considered part of the autism spectrum and is no longer diagnosed as a separate condition.
Judson Center: We Help Individuals And Their Families
No matter what level of autism your child is diagnosed with, we know the news can be devastating for your entire family. Thats why Judson Center is dedicated to providing care for all family members who are impacted by an autism diagnosis, including individual patients and their siblings and parents.
While we offer special programs and counseling for family members, we provide at-center and in-home ABA treatment for patients. We also offer kids with autism the chance to attend innovative Summer Programs that help patients advance their skills even further in a variety of areas.
Get in touch with Judson Center to learn more about the treatment and support we provide for children with all levels of autism and their families now!
Diagnosis Of Autism And Aspergers
As we discussed before, Aspergers Syndrome is now a part of ASD diagnosis. Its signs and symptoms differ from one person to another.
There are certain symptoms that need to be present in an individual in order for ASD diagnosis to be made.
The person will be assessed in terms of having persistent difficulties with social communication and social interaction and restricted and repetitive behaviors. These are seen since early childhood.
The following symptoms can mean that your child has ASD. If you see the following signs in your child, seek professional help:
- Lack of eye contact
- Depth of knowledge in that area of interest
- Sensitivity to certain sounds, textures, smells, tastes, etc.
Difference No 2: Iq May Be Higher Than Normal
While kids with autism typically have a below average IQ, those with Aspergers may have higher-than-normal intelligence.
Some children with Aspergers have a very advanced vocabulary and may become experts in memorizing facts about a specific subject. For instance, they may remember and recite specific sports statistics or facts about dinosaurs.
Some kids with Aspergers are described as gifted and having intellectual talents. They may perform exceptionally well academically, but this isnt always the case, as many also have behavioral problems that can hold them back.
Intervention For Autism And Aspergers
Interventions and treatments for Autism/Aspergers Syndrome should include various approaches and be tailored to the individuals needs.
It is important to involve professionals, as well as parents and teachers.
Early intervention addresses core symptoms of AS/ASD and tackles poor communication skills and restricted and repetitive behaviors.
The following methods are used in the interventions for AS/ASD:
- Social skills training
- Ability to play with language
- Tendency to follow rules
Irregularity Of Movement In Asperger Syndrome
Motor abnormality includes variety of impairments; inability to execute a sequence of actions, atypical eye movement and deficiencies in motor learning . There are several studies examining movement in AS patients, presenting abnormalities in motion performance . In addition, different visual sensitivity to the movement and postural responsivity to the optic flow, correlate with motor skills . There is also significant impairment of movement performance as well as proprioceptive and vestibular processing in AS . Furthermore, AS individuals show deficit in explicit motor-sequence learning that could be related to the left hemisphere dysfunction . Explicit learning of right and left hand movement is impaired in AS. However, despite the impairment of explicit learning , the implicit learning of both hands maintains intact. Attractively, a right hand preference in implicit motor learning is observed in AS individuals due to left striatal system abnormality .
How Is Autism Diagnosed
Fortunately, the way autism is diagnosed has changed and improved over the last 80 years.
We now recognise a wider range of signs and characteristics as forming part of the autism spectrum.
As awareness increases, parents and professionals are getting better at identifying early signs of autism and are more likely to seek an autism assessment.
This explains why people think autism is more prevalent today than it was ten or twenty years ago.
Is There A Cure For Aspergers Syndrome
Currently there is no cure for ASD. Nor are there any home remedies or herbal supplements proven to cure Aspergers syndrome or related conditions.
But several non-surgical treatments exist to help manage many of the conditions symptoms including depression, social anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder .
Therapy is another good alternative for exploring ways to improve quality of life for you, your child or your students.
Many people with Aspergers syndrome say that therapy helped them to deal with their symptoms or other problems. Therapy providers for children and adults with Aspergers syndrome include:
- Physical therapists: Physical therapy can help improve coordination and balance. It can also help them to focus better when faced with distracting noises or sights.
- Speech therapists: Speech therapy can improve your ability to speak clearly and at appropriate volumes.
- Occupational therapists: Occupational therapy can help you learn job skills needed to become and stay independent.
- Family or relationship therapists: This type of therapy can help children and adults have healthier relationships with friends and loved ones.
Your healthcare provider can give you suggestions or referrals to these kinds of therapists.