Get exclusive member benefits & effect social change. Join Today
Asperger’s syndrome (AS) is one of a group of neurological disorders known as autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). AS is considered to be on the mild end of the spectrum. People with AS exhibit three primary symptoms:
Some people with ASDs are classified as high-functioning. High-functioning autism means that these individuals do not have the delayed language acquisition and cognitive development that is typical of many people with ASDs.
Often, individuals diagnosed with AS have normal or above normal intelligence. In addition, people with this condition are frequently able to be educated in mainstream classrooms and hold jobs.
AS cannot be cured, but early diagnosis and intervention can help a child make social connections, achieve their potential, and lead a productive life.
Symptoms vary from person to person, but children with AS often have an obsessive focus on a narrow topic of interest. Children with AS may develop an all-consuming interest in things like train schedules or dinosaurs, for example. This interest can be the subject of one-sided conversations with peers and adults. The person with AS is oblivious to the other person’s attempts to change the topic of conversation. This is one of the reasons that children with AS may have difficulties with social interactions.
People with AS are unable to read facial expressions and body language. Many people with AS find it hard to recognize other people’s feelings. It is common for people with this condition to avoid eye contact when speaking with others.
People with AS may also speak in a monotone and display few facial expressions. They may also have difficulty knowing when to lower the volume of their voices to accommodate their location.
Children with AS may also have difficulty with essential motor skills, such as running or walking. These children may lack coordination and be unable to do certain tasks, such as climbing or riding a bike.
Changes in the brain are responsible for many of the symptoms of AS. However, doctors have not been able to determine precisely what causes these changes. Genetic factors and exposure to environmental toxins, such as chemicals or viruses, have been identified as potential contributors to the development of the disorder. Boys are more likely to develop AS than girls.
There is no single test that can tell you whether your child has AS. In many cases, parents report developmental or behavioral delays or difficulties. If your child is in school, their teacher may note developmental problems. These issues should be reported to your doctor.
They can assess your child in key areas, such as:
Because there are no specific tests for diagnosing AS, many patients have been misdiagnosed with other health problems, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). If this happens, your child may need to be evaluated again to determine the correct diagnosis.
There is no cure for AS syndrome. However, there are various treatments that can reduce symptoms of the disorder and help your child reach their full potential. Treatment is often based on the child’s specific symptoms.
Medications are often used to treat AS symptoms. Examples include:
Medication can be helpful for controlling problematic behaviors, if they occur in AS. However, there are other treatments that can improve communication skills, emotional regulation, and social interaction. Many children with AS also receive:
Parents are often provided with therapy as well. Parental training can help you cope with the challenges involved in raising a child with AS.
There is no cure for AS. However, many children with the disorder grow up to live healthy and productive lives with treatment and early intervention. Though many still struggle with social interactions, most adults with AS are able to live independently.
Written by: Darla Burke
Medically reviewed on: Oct 14, 2016: Timothy J. Legg, PhD, CRNP
Enter your symptoms in our Symptom Checker to find out possible causes of your symptoms. Go.
Enter any list of prescription drugs and see how they interact with each other and with other substances. Go.
Enter its color and shape information, and this tool helps you identify it. Go.
Find information on drug interactions, side effects, and more. Go.