Asperger’s Syndrome is included in the “Autism Spectrum”, but differs slightly without the delay of spoken language. Because of this difference, caregivers may not notice delays in social interactions or repetitive behavior because the child shows language development around the same time as their typical peers. Asperger’s is typically reported later in childhood, usually when the child is school-aged and has begun to interact with peers in a structured setting. People with Asperger’s are sometimes referred to as having “High-functioning Autism” although this diagnosis can be misleading due to the fact that the individuals may still have significant difficulties in social interactions and behaviors.
The following behaviors are often associated with Asperger syndrome:
- limited or inappropriate social interactions
- “robotic” or repetitive speech
- challenges with nonverbal communication (gestures, facial expression, etc.) coupled with average to above average verbal skills
- tendency to discuss self rather than others
- inability to understand social/emotional issues or nonliteral phrases
- lack of eye contact or reciprocal conversation
- obsession with specific, often unusual, topics
- one-sided conversations
- awkward movements and/or mannerisms
Changes to Asperger’s Diagnosis: The criteria for diagnosing Asperger’s changed with the latest update to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in May of 2014 and is no longer listed as a diagnosis. If an individual was diagnosed with Asperger’s prior to 2014, they are able to maintain their diagnosis.
Need Support? Check out these links for more information:
Autism Speaks Inc. (2005-2011). www.autismspeaks.org. Retrieved 2015, from Autism speaks: http://www.autismspeaks.org/