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What is Asperger’s Syndrome by Debbie Gorman

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One out of 300 births a year, a child is born with Asperger’s Syndrome. A form of Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), also categorized as Pervasive development disorder (PPD). At birth, there are no signs, symptoms, or tests that can be run to detect this disorder.  The signs do not begin to show until around the age of three and it is found more common in boys than girls with a high velocity in twins.

The parent will notice odd behaviors such as poor social skills with peers of their age, one-sided conversations, lack of empathy, unusual facial expressions, fidgeting while sitting, clumsiness, minimal to no eye contact, and the major sign is the obsession over an object or interest. These signs are commonly misdiagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder (ADHA), or Autism.  Although these children have development tribulations, they are usually found to have above-average intelligence. Children with this condition usually excel in the areas of science, math, and technology.

There is no real known cause for Asperger’s Syndrome to be found. Hans Asperger, the pediatrician that first brought attention to this condition and was later named after, started researching Asperger’s Syndrome in 1944 with four children who were said to have autism, but he believed differently. His theory was Asperbers could be due to low activity of the part of the brain where the cognitive thinking (frontal lobe) takes place, his theory and beliefs were quickly disregarded. This condition was not brought back to light and was further researched until 1980. Scientists and researchers have studied several possible reasons for this condition. Starting with genetics, scientists believe that this could be hereditary. That there is a gene mutation (change to the normal genetic information) in the genetic code passed from parent to child in fetal development in the womb (National Institute of Mental Health/ NIMH). Another scientific belief is the possibility of abnormal migration of embryonic cells during fetal development that affects brain structure, “wiring,” and the neural circuits that control thought and behavior (web M.D.).  Another theory is believed it may be caused by the numerous vaccines the doctors give the child before the age of two. Other researchers suggest that it has to do with environmental components such as the air we breathe, the chemicals that are put in the water we drink, and the food we eat. Recent research has discovered when a child with Aspergers is asked a question that requires them to make a judgment; researchers have seen an activity reduction of the frontal lobe. This experiment concurs with what Dr. Asperger discovered that there are many differences between Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Aspergers to this date. The only treatment for this condition is catching the signs and symptoms early and having them properly tested and diagnosed by a psychiatrist. With early detection, a parent can start applying correct social skills and behavior modifications, starting as young as toddler age which will significantly improve their cognitive thinking skills. When the child starts to attend school, the parent can enroll them in school-based programs such as special education classes and occupational and/or speech therapy which will enhance their language skills.  Early detection and intervention is the key to helping and arming children with Asperger’s Syndrome with the ability to learn and apply new skills to their everyday life that will eventually help them throughout their adult lives.



National Institute of Mental Health/ (NIMH)



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