Asperger's Syndrome

(Also Known As: Aspergers Syndrome, Asperger’s Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, Autism, Autistic, Aspergers, Autism Spectrum Disorder)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What is Asperger’s Syndrome?

Aperger’s syndrome is a lifelong psychological (neurodevelopmental) disorder which begins in childhood and is marked by a lack of social understanding, limited ability for reciprocal conversation and an intense interest in a particular subject. It is classified as part of the autism spectrum and considered one of the pervasive developmental disorders. Persons with asperger’s syndrome may have an average to superior intelligence, however their social and emotional capabilities are noticeably less developed than those of their peers. Some children and adults with Asperger’s can have normal intellectual capacity but the child or adolescent may be socially aloof or may tend to talk endlessly about a particular area of interest without ever listening to the other person or noticing non-verbal cues. Those with the condition labor so much in understanding conversations from other persons. Several experts and researchers have expressed that there may be no difference between asperger’s syndrome and high-functioning autism.

The syndrome can be identified in children as young as two or three years old but will become more noticeable as they grow older. The medical cause of asperger’s syndrome is thought to be a biological imbalance in the development of the different areas of the brain or a neurological malformation, and may have genetic origins. Some children who have asperger’s syndrome have talents which could lead to successful employment and some could develop life-long relationships. As the person suffering from asperger’s syndrome moves from childhood to adolescence and the social demands and interactions grow more and more complex the person may experience higher levels of anxiety or frustration. Although, some people with asperger’s syndrome—however eccentric they might have appeared to their peers—have become very successful and may serve as inspirations or role models to children, adolescents and adults with asperger’s (See Findings on asperger’s syndrome).

It is important to note that with conditions classified under the autism spectrum, like asperger’s syndrome, much research and in-depth studies are still needed to really understand them. Definite causes as well as treatments have not yet been proven, however there are people who have been managing their conditions well enough to function soundly in society. At present, there is a debate as to whether they are really disorders or if they are simply a point—a unique set of cognitive styles and behavior— along the continuum of various human conditions, which call for social understanding, awareness and acceptance.

Could You Have Asperger's Syndrome?

Asperger's Syndrome Topics

Related Conditions

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – developmental disorder, impulsiveness, hyperactivity, attention deficit, inattention
Childhood Disintegrative Disorder – delayed language, delayed motor skills, declined social functions, autism, pervasive developmental disorder
Pervasive Developmental Disorder NOS – developmental deficits, delayed socialization and communication skills
Rett's Disorder – impaired social interaction, language deficits, declines social skills, pervasive developmental disorder