Hans Asperger (1944) first described Asbergers Syndrome (AS) as a severe disorder characterized by major difficulties in social interaction, and restricted and unusual patterns of interest and behavior. Asbergers is a neurobiological condition which falls within the group of childhood disorders classified as 'pervasive development disorders'. Aspergers syndrome is now classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
High Functioning Asbergers Syndrome (HFA) is a much milder and more treatable form of AS, which may actually confer some intellectual advantages. Both forms of Asbergers is more prevalent in boys than girls.
The primary symptoms of Asbergers disorder are as follows:
1. Severe impairment of social reasoning & interaction including:
-A reduced appreciation of non-verbal communication, such as eye contact, body language, and facial expressions.
-A latency in developing age appropriate peer relationships.
-A lack of reciprocity, and spontaneity in engaging in shared interests with others, coupled with a notable lack of empathetic emotion.
2. Repetative patterns of behavior including:
-A pre-occupation with an interest or activity, often singular objects or parts of objects, which is extenuated by abnormal focus and intensity.
-Rigid adherence to routines or rituals.
-Repetative motor activities such as finger tapping, head motion, or more complex body movements.
In addition to the Asberger's syndrome symptoms above, many professionals will include other behavior as part of their Aspergers diagnostic criterea. A hightened response to sensory stimuli, latent gross motor skills, sleep disturbances and high pain tolerance are just some of the additional factors which may be attributable to a positive Asbergers diagnosis.
Being able to recognize Asbergers 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.
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