The question 'What is Aspergers?' can be answered expediently by way of definition: Aspergers disorder, also known as Aspbergers Syndrome or autistic psychopathy, is a neurobiological condition which falls within the group of childhood disorders classified as pervasive development disorders.
The namesake of Aspbergers disorder is Hans Asperger, a Viennese physician who in 1944 published a description of behavioral patters in male youths who displayed normal intellect and linguistic capacity but compromised social functioning and communication skills. It holds some parallels to autism, however children with Aspergers disorder rarely experience equivalent difficulties in language acquisition to those children who have autism.
Parents of children with Aspergers disorder are no longer left to ponder 'what is aspergers' insofar as it is now classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (text revised) as being a developmental disorder of childhood. However, the symptoms of aspergers disorder in children or individuals can be problematic and concerning pre-diagnosis.
The primary features 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. Repetitive 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.
What is often lacking in children with Aspergers disorder is any significant delay in general language capacity. Most children progress with normal development in infancy and are capable of communicating with phrases by the age of 3. Other children with Aspergers in fact display high degrees of functioning in specific areas, which can give rise to behavioral eccentricities. This at times can place additional emphasis on the social awkwardness of these children and serves to further alienate them from their peer group.
Similarly, Aspergers Disorder children can display normal cognitive development and the appropriation of self help skills, adaptive behavior and natural curiosity. However, basal motor coordination may be diminished, and as such children may present as somewhat clumsy, and lack coordination.
Focusing again on the question of what is Aspergers, it is noteworthy that the profession is somewhat divided as to whether Aspergers disorder equates to a form of High Functioning Autism, or whether it is more appropriately categorized as a Non-verbal Learning Disability.
Certainly the diagnosis of the condition has become more advanced, but if the question what is aspergers remains yet to be comprehensively answered, it begs the question as to how effectively it can be treated.
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