Asperger’s Syndrome

Asperger’s syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by communication difficulties, inability to socialize and odd repetitive behaviours. It usually affects boys and may first be noticed between the ages of 2 to 6.The cause is not exactly clear but it tends to run in families.

Children with Asperger’s syndrome have difficulty starting and maintaining conversations, do not maintain eye contact, use language in the literal sense and feel awkward in social settings. They may have habits such as twisting or wringing their fingers and ritualistic ways of performing tasks. Few subjects interest them, but they may be exceptionally skilled in some areas due to an obsessive interest. Coordination difficulties are usually present making them awkward or clumsy as they move.

To diagnose Asperger’s syndrome, your doctor will review your history and perform a thorough physical examination. Any coordination difficulties or loss of muscle tone is noted. Tests are conducted to assess speech, behaviour, social skills and development.

Asperger’s syndrome has no definite cure, but treatment is necessary to control inappropriate behaviours and improve social functioning. It usually includes:

  • Behavioural therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Social skills development
  • Special education
  • Supportive medications to treat associated symptoms such as depression, anxiety, hyperactivity and obsessive compulsive behaviour
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