Aspergers symptoms are caused by Asperger's syndrome, which is a developmental disorder which greatly hinders sufferers' ability to engage in social interactions.
Asperger's sufferers are often not able to recognize verbal and nonverbal cues or follow the "normal" rules of social interaction, such as active listening, taking turns speaking, and understanding personal space.
Diagnostically, it is classified as a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), which also include Autism, Rett syndrome, and others. It is most similar to autism and autistic spectrum disorders (ASD).
Like those with autism, children with Asperger's syndrome have abnormal social interactions, facial expressions, and gestures, and unusually focused interests.
Unlike autism, however, children and adults with Asperger's typically have normal or advanced intelligence, normal language acquisition, and display age-appropriate or advanced interest in learning and activities.
Like ADHD, it affects males more than females. While its cause is unknown, it tends to run in families with may indicate a genetic component to the disorder.
Studies show that those who suffer from Asperger's syndrome are more likely to suffer from other conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression, learning disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Prognosis: Children and adults with Asperger's syndrome can lead independent and productive lives, but their hindered social skills will generally remain a challenge.
Asperger's is diagnosed via the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The criteria are as follows:
(I) Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:
(A) marked impairments in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body posture, and gestures to regulate social interaction
(B) failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
(C) a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interest or achievements with other people, (e.g.. by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people)
(D) lack of social or emotional reciprocity
(II) Restricted repetitive & stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:
A) encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus
(B) apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals
(C) stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g. hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)
(D) persistent preoccupation with parts of objects
(III) The disturbance causes clinically significant impairments in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
(IV) There is no clinically significant general delay in language (E.G. single words used by age 2 years, communicative phrases used by age 3 years)
(V) There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self help skills, adaptive behavior (other than in social interaction) and curiosity about the environment in childhood.
(VI) Criteria are not met for another specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder or Schizophrenia."
Get Dr. Kensington's FREE ADHD Newsletter!