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Asperger's syndrome

Definition


Disease: Asperger's syndrome Asperger's syndrome
Category: Children diseases
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Disease Definition:

Asperger's syndrome is a developmental disorder that affects a child's ability to socialize and communicate effectively with others. Children with Asperger's syndrome typically exhibit social awkwardness and an all-absorbing interest in specific topics.


This syndrome is usually grouped with other conditions known as pervasive developmental disorders or autistic spectrum disorders, which involve problems with social skills and communication. But this particular syndrome, Asperger’s syndrome, is considered the milder end of this spectrum.

Treatment for this condition can help the child learn how to interact more successfully in social situations. However, there’s no cure for Asperger’s syndrome.

Work Group:


Prepared by: Scientific Section

Symptoms, Causes

Symptoms:

Some of the signs and symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome might be:

 

  • Having a hard time “reading” other people or understanding humor
  • Displaying some unusual and nonverbal communication, such as lack of eye contact, awkward body postures and gestures or few facial expressions
  • Speaking in a voice that is monotonous, rigid or unusually fast
  • Having an odd posture or a rigid gait
  • Showing intense obsession with one or two specific, narrow subjects, such as train schedules, baseball statistics, snakes or weather
  • Engaging in one-sided, long-winded conversations without noticing if the listener is trying to change the subject or if he/she is listening at all
  • Appearing not to understand, empathize with or be sensitive to others’ feelings
  • Moving clumsily, with poor coordination


Many toddlers show a sign or symptom of Asperger’s syndrome at some point, because all kids have quirks. It’s quite natural for children to be egocentric, and many little ones show a strong interest in a particular topic, such as a favorite fictional character or dinosaurs. However, these aren’t reasons to be alarmed.

If an elementary schoolchild has frequent problems in school or seems unable to make friends, it's time to consult a pediatrician. These difficulties have many possible causes, but it’s important to consider the developmental disorders, such as Asperger’s syndrome. When a child’s eccentricities interfere with learning and social development, he/she should have a comprehensive evaluation.

Causes:

This disorder seems to be linked to structural abnormalities in several regions of the brain. Even though there seems to be a strong genetic component, the exact cause of Asperger’s syndrome is not known.

Complications

Complications:

None

Treatments:

Although most children can benefit from early specialized interventions that focus on behavior management and social skills training, the core signs of Asperger’s syndrome can’t be cured. The doctor may help the parents in finding resources that may work for their child. Some of the options are:

MEDICATIONS:
There are no medications to treat Asperger’s syndrome, but some medications could improve specific symptoms that complicate the child’s progress such as anxiety, depression or hyperactivity, that usually occur in children with Asperger’s syndrome.

COMMUNICATION AND SOCIAL SKILLS TRAINING:
When taught in a rote and explicit way, children with Asperger’s syndrome could learn communication and socialization rules. They could also learn how to speak in a more natural rhythm and how to interpret communication techniques, such as eye contact, humor, sarcasm and tone of voice.

COGNITIVE BEHAVIOR THERAPY:
Many techniques are encompassed in this general term, that are aimed at curbing problem behaviors, such as meltdowns, obsessions, angry outbursts, interrupting, in addition to developing skills like recognizing feelings and coping with anxiety. Training a child to recognize a troublesome situation, such as a new place or an event with lots of social demands, and then selecting a specific learned strategy to cope with the situation is what the cognitive therapy usually focuses on.

Prognosis:

Not Available

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