Aspergers Syndrome: What Parents Need to Know
Aspergers Syndrome (or AS for short) is a neurobiological disorder named after a Viennese physician, Hans Asperger. In 1944, he published a paper which described a pattern of behavior in young boys who had normal intelligence and language development, but at the same time exhibited autistic-like behavior and marked deficiencies in social and communication skills. AS is linked to autism spectrum disorder, and includes autistic-like behavior and marked deficiencies in social and communication skills.
AS is more common in boys than in girls. It is not usually recognized before the age or three or even later. The syndrome can be classified using the categories below:
- Speech: Children with Aspergers Syndrome starting talking at a normal age. Grammar is acquired at a typical age or a bit later; however there may be a tendency to use "you" or "he/she" instead of "I". In general the form of language used is typical but the content is not. Children may talk at length about a favorite subject or repeat a word or phrase compulsively.
- Non-verbal communication: Children with Aspergers Syndrome may have few facial expressions apart from anger or sadness. Their voice may be monotone and droning or exaggerated. It is also difficult for them to discern the facial expressions of others. Additionally, gestures may be clumsy and exaggerated.
- Social Interaction: The impairment of two-way interaction is perhaps the most obvious characteristic of the person with the syndrome.
- Repetitive Activities and Resistance to Change: Children with AS may spin or watch spinning objects for long periods or time. They often are obsessively attached to certain possessions.
- Motor Coordination: Gross motor movements are usually clumsy and uncoordinated. About 90% are poor at sports. Some may have difficulty writing and drawing.
- Skills and Interests: Most kids with Aspergers Syndrome have excellent rote memory and become intensely interested in one or two subjects (sometimes to the exclusion of other topics).
- Experiences at School: The impairment of social interaction and communication, in particular, works against the child with Asperger's Syndrome. Such children are often targets of teasing and bullying at school. Many will be acutely aware that they are different, and can become over-sensitive to criticism, especially as teens.
Often overly sensitive to sounds, tastes, smells, and sights, the child with AS may prefer soft clothing, certain foods, and be bothered by sounds or lights that no one else seems to hear or see. It's important to remember that the child with Aspergers Syndrome perceives the world very differently. Therefore, many behavioral traits that seem odd or unusual are due to those neurological differences and not the result of intentional rudeness, bad behavior, and most certainly not the result of "improper parenting".
Understandably, AS children encounter enormous difficulties during their transition into adolescence, and later into adult life, since they have not completed the requisite developmental tasks or transcended early struggles with language, cognitive and social skills. But there is help. There are Aspergers Syndrome remedies that will help relieve your child's symptoms and help him get beyond them. Many parents have written me to report success using these products.
Since AS kids often remain emotionally dependent on parents andfamily members their entire lives, it is important to try to find what can help them now. In this way, you give your child the best possible chance of living a fulfilling life, one that includes many things that we enjoy: a romantic partner, good friendships with peers and family and meaningful and productive work.
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By Vanessa Rasmussen, © 2004, All rights reserved. Starting a Day Care Center
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