How to determine if your child has Aspergers.
Aspergers Syndrome is a neurological condition which is categorized by virtue of it's qualitative impairment in social and behavioral functioning. The symptoms of Aspergers Syndrome, whilst varied, are frequently encapsulated by a distinct, severe and prolonged impairment in social interaction, peculiarities in communication, and an emphasis on repetitive routines or ritualized patterns of behavior.
Whilst there is typically no differentiation in developments such as preliminary linguistic skills, adaptive behavior and self assertiveness in children suffering from aspergers syndrome, parents may recognize latency in motor coordination in young children as a preliminary indication of the condition.
Often parents are simply able to sense that their child's development doesn't accord either with their past experience with child rearing, or their own children's peer group. When the cause for this derivation is unclear, it can be a source of ongoing concern. The concern is a valid one. Many children with aspergers are demonstrably active in early childhood, but as their difficulties with socialization and communication persist into adulthood, they can experience associated psychiatric conditions, and depression.
Recognizing Aspergers Syndrome Behavior
By having some knowledge of what the classic symptoms of aspergers syndrome are, it's possible to ascertain whether your child is exhibiting them to a degree which might necessitate seeking a professional diagnosis.
With children grown beyond infancy, two of the more marked aspergers syndrome symptoms are firstly, the repetitive stereotyped patters of behavior, and secondly, a qualitative impairment in social interactions. The manifestation of these respective symptoms can be recognized as follows:
Impairment In Social Functioning
Children with aspergers syndrome may exhibit a clear difficulty in developing age appropriate relationships with their peer group, and demonstrate an aversion to the use of non-verbal communication cues, such as eye contact, facial expressions, or body language. Similarly, they will have difficulty deciphering such cues, and to that degree operate without the benefit of the integral ability most of us unconsciously apply to all our day to day interactions. To use an example, sarcasm may well be lost on an aspergers child, as will variations in tones and speech patters. They will find inferential reasoning, general problem solving and abstract concepts taxing.
A child's level of spontaneous engagement in shared interests and social activities can be a further symptom of aspegers syndrome. Often children with aspergers syndrome can be animated in their discussion but demonstrate a lineal focus on topics of interest to them, almost to the point that their communication seems eccentric, or at times inappropriate. An asperger child's apparent inability to reciprocate a shared interest goes beyond what might be described as age appropriate egocentricity.
An individual with aspergers syndrome may also lack obvious capacity for empathy, and this inability to appreciate the emotions of others serves, perhaps unfairly, to reinforce their social awkwardness insofar as their behavior is outwardly perceived. Speech and linguistic irregularities such as stilted, formal or monotone language may also be an indication of aspergers syndrome behavior.
Repetitive Patterns Of Behavior
An all-encompassing pre-occupation with a topic to the exclusion of others is one of the more distinguished symptoms of aspegers syndrome. A sufferer's obsession can lead some children to become fixated on a particular item or topic. Frequently the child will want to know everything relating to their interest, and may develop what can objectively appear to be an admirable knowledge base in relation to it. However, in discussion, facts or explanations may be divulged with incessant randomness, and an obvious point or direction in the dialogue is at times absent.
Another form of aspergers syndrome behavior are stereotyped repetitive motor mannerisms, such as hand or finger movements, and an inflexibility to changes in their routine. A pre-occupation beyond normal levels of curiosity in parts of larger objects may be one of the symptoms of aspergers.
Being able to recognize asperger syndrome symptoms can be an important factor in early diagnosis, treatment and behavior management. Unlike the subjective withdrawal characteristically associated with autism, people with aspergers syndrome are vulnerable to becoming isolated as a consequence of their underdeveloped social skills. This is notwithstanding any desire they may in fact have for continued interaction with their peers.
Taking Notice Of The Signs
For parents, teachers, or those otherwise concerned with the care, welfare and development of a child who may be suffering from aspergers, the above behavioral considerations become integral in not simply classifying a child as a 'bad' child. Aspergers syndrome may co-exist with other conditions, including Attention Defecit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anxiety, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD). Proper diagnosis can assist in waylaying the development of anxiety or depression associated with aspergers syndrome.
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