What is Asperger’s Syndrome?
The term “Asperger’s syndrome” refers to a kind of autism characterized by high functioning levels. Asperger’s syndrome is no longer included as an official diagnostic in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), even though it was originally recognized as a distinct disorder in its own right (DSM). The diagnostic ‘umbrella’ term ‘autism spectrum disorder’ now encompasses the behaviors that were formerly assigned to ‘Asperger’s syndrome.
People with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome sometimes struggle when placed in social settings, and they may be unable to comprehend the views and emotions of others around them. On the other hand, their linguistic and cognitive abilities are often average.
Individuals affected with the illness may also engage in particular and recurrent body motions. They often focus on the details and are interested in systematizing, which might give the impression that they are obsessed with the topic. Some people can demonstrate great competence in a tightly focused and often non-social field, such as baseball statistics or railway timetables.
Why is Asperger’s more common in boys than in girls?
Autism is almost four times more prevalent in males than in girls. However, the explanation for this development remains unclear. Scientist Simon Baron-Cohen created the extreme male brain theory, which says that autism is an extreme version of the male brain due to men’s overall inclination for systematizing and women’s typical propensity for empathizing.
Others argue that biological differences alone cannot explain such a big disparity and that genetics, social learning, and diagnostic bias also play a part.
Has autism increased over time?
Over the last 50 years, the prevalence of autism has steadily increased. According to the CDC, 1 in 54 children has autism spectrum disorder today. Research indicates that the genetic and environmental components of autism have remained constant throughout time; thus, the rise may be attributable to increased awareness and diagnostic changes.
Before 2013, the DSM-IV had three classifications: autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder. The DSM-5 replaced these classifications with a single diagnosis: autism spectrum disorder. Changes to the criteria likely led to the diagnosis of autism in more individuals. In addition, both families and professionals are likely more aware of autism and its symptoms than they were decades before, which increases the likelihood of a diagnosis.
Signs and Symptoms
People with Asperger’s have trouble interacting with others in social settings, much like those with other autism spectrum illnesses. For instance, they may have trouble making eye contact, may not know how to continue a conversation, or may not grasp a joke. People who have Asperger’s syndrome may have difficulty understanding nonverbal cues or making sense of body language.
Persons with Asperger’s syndrome often do not reciprocate social sentiments or partake in the delight or sorrow of others. This is because it is possible for people with Asperger’s to lack the capacity to grasp the viewpoint of others. As youngsters, they risk not being able to form meaningful connections and being singled out by their peers as “strange” or “awkward.”
People who have Asperger’s tend to work best when they adhere to set patterns and habits. They often have a singular focus that consumes a great deal of their attention, and they may sometimes amaze others with their expertise in a particular field (sometimes referred to as a savant). They may engage in repetitive activities such as finger-twisting, hand-waving, or rocking, much like those who have autism to its fullest extent.
In earlier editions of the DSM, Asperger’s was categorized as a separate condition. Asperger’s syndrome is included in the criteria for diagnosing autism spectrum disorder in the DSM-5, which was released in 2013. These are some of the symptoms:
Deficits in social communication and interaction are present in various settings and continue to exist. For instance, the incapacity to carry on a discussion in a back-and-forth fashion, the absence of eye contact, and the difficulty in establishing connections over time.
Patterns of behavior, interests, or activities are constrained and repeated regularly. Examples of compulsive behaviors include persistently doing the same hand movement, steadfastly following routines, or being obsessed with a certain topic, such as the public transportation system.
For a diagnosis to be made, the symptoms must have also been present in the individual when they were a kid, and they must cause the person substantial discomfort in their day-to-day existence.
The DSM-5 identifies three distinct severity categories for autism spectrum disorder. The first level, “Requiring assistance,” is the most basic one. “Requiring extensive help” is the descriptor given for Level 2. The definition of “Requiring very considerable help” applies to the level 3. Because Asperger’s syndrome was traditionally a mild type of autism, it can map into Level 1.
There is still a lot of mystery around the origins of autism and Asperger’s syndrome. The most recent findings in this line of study hint at a complicated interaction between biological and environmental factors.
Asperger’s syndrome and autism are believed to have a hereditary component since the disorder often occurs in families. For instance, the likelihood of both members of an identical twin pair having autism is substantially higher than that of fraternal twins or siblings. A new study suggests that there may be a common set of genes, the changes or deletions which put an individual at risk for having autism, but the degree and symptoms of autism may vary greatly from person to person.
Scientists have discovered structural and functional variations in certain areas of children’s brains and children with Asperger’s syndrome. These findings suggest that brain abnormalities may play a role in the condition. These discrepancies are most likely the result of an improper migration of embryonic cells throughout the fetus’s development. This abnormal migration then affects the brain circuits that govern cognition and behavior.
Some environmental variables, such as older parental age, maternal illness during pregnancy, maternal diabetes, exposure to the medication valproate in utero, and low birth weight, have been linked to an increased risk of autism.
Services and Treatment
The primary focus of treatments for Asperger’s is developing the patient’s social and communicative abilities. Training in social skills focuses on providing participants with the tools required to engage properly with other youngsters. Children may benefit from speech therapy to improve their capacity to converse and comprehend the natural rhythm of giving and taking.
Cognitive behavior therapy is common when adults want to assist youngsters in learning how to regulate their emotions and break free from compulsive behaviors and patterns. Some children may benefit from sensory integration treatments, whereas children who struggle with poor motor coordination may benefit more from occupational and physical therapy. Parents often need education and assistance in using various behavioral approaches in the home.
What services can help people with Asperger’s?
Behavioral therapies that target particular habits and identify their causes are often effective. Effective interventions that teach children and their families effective communication skills.
Also crucial is planning for adolescence and the transition to adulthood. Finding medical and behavioral health care, employment skill development, community activities, and residential assistance may significantly impact autistic individuals and their families.
What is applied behavior analysis?
Applied Behavior Analysis is one of the most researched behavioral treatments for autism (ABA). The fundamental principle of ABA is to break down abilities into component elements and promote learning via repetition and reinforcement. The strategy is based on monitoring a scenario and determining what would benefit a youngster, even if they are still focused on something else. For instance, if a kid is not interested in greeting people, a therapist may decide to teach these skills regardless via ABA since they have long-term significance. ABA is the conventional beginning point for children with severe symptoms, although it may also benefit children with less severe symptoms.
Does every Asperger’s patient seek treatment?
Numerous members of the autistic community celebrate their peculiarities and contest the need for therapy. They hope that society will grow more tolerant and accommodating, and they will assist as necessary. Parents of children with significant challenges, such as nonverbal or self-injurious, are often less likely to share this viewpoint than children with milder symptoms who may have previously been diagnosed with Asperger’s. This disparity in how the illness is experienced and understood has sparked a heated discussion about the possibility of an autism cure.
Neurodiversity and the Positive Aspects of Having Asperger’s Syndrome
The idea of neurodiversity acknowledges, celebrates, and appreciates the variances in thought and behavior between individuals with Asperger’s syndrome and other functioning but abnormal variants. Some persons with Asperger’s syndrome believe that their non-neurotypical way of seeing the world has worth, in contrast to those with the disorder who want to develop their social skills to better deal with the neurotypical population.
People who are members of the neurodiversity movement or who support it advocate the concept that there is not a single “typical” kind of mind but rather variances in how the brains of unique people operate. They respect the important abilities and contributions made by people with a variety of brains in the same way that they enjoy the worth of diversity in various forms.
What is a savant?
Savant syndrome is an uncommon but unusual condition in which a person with a mental handicap, often a type of autism, simultaneously has a remarkable ability or combination of talents. For instance, a youngster with autism who is nonverbal may be able to swiftly assemble a 200-piece jigsaw puzzle if the image side is facing away from him; by only observing the forms of the pieces, the child may quickly assemble the problem. Ten percent of persons with autism are considered savants, making them the exception rather than the norm in the autistic community.
What is double exceptionalness?
Often abbreviated as 2e, the phrase twice-exceptional refers to academically talented youngsters with a handicap. These youngsters are remarkable due to their academic abilities and specific requirements. These so-called impairments often include autism spectrum disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Parents and many people are increasingly seeking assistance for their children in this area.