Asperger syndrome

You sense something is different about your child. He appears to have a tough time fitting in with other children. Maybe your child repeats behaviors, like being obsessed about something, again and again and again.

Let's talk about what causes Asperger syndrome.
Asperger syndrome is often considered a high functioning form of autism. It is more common in boys than girls, but the cause is unknown. More than likely your child's brain just works differently than other children's brains.

How do you know for sure that your child has Asperger syndrome?
People with Asperger syndrome become obsessed with a single object or topic. They want to know everything about this topic, and may talk about little else. A child with Asperger syndrome will not withdraw from the world like someone with classic autism does. But they may have problems in social situations that lead to isolation.

Common symptoms of people with Asperger syndrome may seem like their body language may be off; They may speak in a monotone voice; They may not respond to other people's comments or emotions. They may not understand humor or a figure of speech. They may speak too loudly in social settings. They may have problems with eye contact, facial expressions, or body language. They may have a hard time forming relationships with other people.

Problems are usually obvious by the age of 3, but children are often not diagnosed with Asperger syndrome until they are 7 years old. Your child's doctor will look for a group of behaviors. Does your child have abnormal eye contact? Does he fail to turn when called by name? Does he fail to interact with others?

So, how do we treat Asperger syndrome?
The symptoms of Asperger syndrome can't be cured, but most children improve with behavior management and social skills training. Talk therapy can help your child manage their emotions, repetitive behaviors, and obsessions. Your child may need physical or occupational therapy, to help with motor skills and sensory problems. Speech therapy can help your child learn the skill of everyday conversation. Parents can learn how to help their child grow into well-adjusted adults.

With treatment, many children and their families can learn to cope with Asperger syndrome. Your child may always have problems with social interaction and personal relationships, but many children with Asperger syndrome grow up to have good jobs and lead independent lives.

Asperger syndrome

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 10/25/2011
  • Alan Greene, MD, Author and Practicing Pediatrician; also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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