What is Asperger Syndrome?


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Asperger Syndrome is a relatively mild form of autism that affects people in different ways than regular autism. Because it usually does not affect language, many people with Asperger Syndrome go undiagnosed.

Aspergers syndrome is a developmental disorder that affects a child's ability to socialize and communicate effectively with others. Children with Aspergers syndrome typically exhibit social awkwardness and an all-absorbing interest in specific topics.

Aspergers is also described as an autism spectrum disorder, in that it shares many of the same characteristics of more “classical” autism. Although they are both on the same continuum there are definite differences between children with Aspergers Syndrome and Autism. You can see this in their social interactions, language and development over time.

High Functioning Autism is very much like Aspergers Syndrome except that the professionals seem to apply that diagnosis to children who were non-verbal when they were younger.

Signs and symptoms of Aspergers syndrome include:


●Displaying unusual nonverbal communication, such as lack of eye contact, few facial expressions, or awkward body postures and gestures

●Showing an intense obsession with one or two specific, narrow subjects, such as baseball statistics, train schedules, weather or snakes

●Appearing not to understand, empathize with, or be sensitive to others' feelings

●Having a hard time "reading" other people or understanding humor

●Speaking in a voice that is monotonous, rigid or unusually fast

●Moving clumsily, with poor coordination

●Having an odd posture or a rigid gait

Autism and Aspergers Syndrome are difficult to diagnose especially in young children where language and cognitive skills are still developing. All children are different, and many toddlers show a sign or symptom of Aspergers syndrome at some point.

It's natural for small children to be egocentric, and many little ones show a strong interest in a particular topic, such as dinosaurs or a favorite fictional character. These alone aren't reasons to be alarmed!

However, if your child has frequent problems in school or seems unable to make friends, it's time to consult your pediatrician. These difficulties have many possible causes, but developmental disorders such as Aspergers syndrome shouldn't be ruled out.

Is Aspergers a form of autism? How does it differ?

Aspergers is also described as an autism spectrum disorder, in that it shares many of the same characteristics of more “classical” autism. Although they are both on the same continuum there are definite differences between children with Aspergers Syndrome and Autism. You can see this in their social interactions, language and development over time.

High Functioning Autism is very much like Aspergers Syndrome except that the professionals seem to apply that diagnosis to children who were non-verbal when they were younger.

Because people with Aspergers Syndrome usually do not have delayed language they are usually considered to be at the higher end of the autistic spectrum (also can be known as higher functioning).

Children with Aspergers have a number of indicators which are outlined below:-

• Aspergers is much more common in boys than in girls. In fact the boy to girl ratio is about 10 boys to each girl.

• People with Aspergers have problems with social skills, have difficulties with transitions or changes and prefer things to be the same.

• They often have obsessive routines and may be preoccupied with a particular subject of interest.

• They have trouble understanding nonverbal cues (such as body language) and often a person with Aspergers has difficulty understanding proper body space (or “personal space”).

• They may also be overly sensitive to sounds, tastes, smells, and sights.

It's important to remember that the person with Aspergers sees the world very differently.

Why do Aspergers children behave in an obsessive manner?

It is very common for an individual with Aspergers to become fascinated by a special interest that dominates the person’s time. It is important to recognize what the fascination may provide for this child before attempting to eliminate it or control access to it. The fascination or obsession may provide the order and consistency he/she craves. It may also provide a method of relaxation.

Rather than try to eliminate these altogether (which is almost impossible), create a plan that uses these unusual interests as a reward for completed tasks.

For example if you ask the child to complete a task that he/she is familiar with and in which he/she can be successful. Then give him time on the interest as a reward. This way your child will learn to manage and control the obsession better.

Why do Aspergers children have short attention spans?

Children with Aspergers syndrome frequently exhibit problems associated with other special needs, e.g. attention problems and obsessive/compulsive disorders. Researchers and practitioners are unsure whether these behaviors are a part of Aspergers Syndrome or are comorbid, (i.e.related) disorders.

The characteristics of Aspergers syndrome include difficulties in social communication, sensory problems and organizational difficulties. All of these combined will certainly affect their ability to sustain concentration for any length of time.

For example a room may be too bright, noisy, too many pictures which are all distractions and high stimulation. problems can be an area of difficulty for people with Aspergers. This means that certain sights, noises, tastes and textures can bother the person more than they would a person without Aspergers.

Aspergers individuals will often not fully understand what is being said to them and will often misinterpret crucial verbal and non verbal information. They also find it difficult to give consistent eye contact as this sometimes interferes with their ability to take in new information.

Dealing with Asperger Syndrome

Asperger Syndrome is a relatively mild form of autism that effects people in different ways than regular autism. Because it usually does not affect language, many people with Asperger Syndrome go undiagnosed. This is the one form of autism that is usually not caught at an early age and is instead a disorder that develops later in life.

Asperger Syndrome, however, can be a very difficult condition to have, so as soon as you suspect yourself or your child of having communication and social behavior problems, see your family doctor.

Many famous and successful people were diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. Historians even suggest that Einstein and Mozart each suffered from this disorder. It is important to note that no form of autism is a form of mental retardation. In fact, most people with Asperger Syndrome are very intelligent.

Asperger Syndrome does not dictate mental ability, but rather makes it difficult for people to communicate in social settings, much in the same way a typical autistic child has trouble with behavior in groups. When this disorder goes undiagnosed, children do not get the help they need, leading to problems in school such as bullying.

Most children are relieved to find out they have Asperger Syndrome instead of just thinking they are less of a person. By getting diagnosed, not only can you or your child put a name to the problems, but it is then also possible to get treated to improve your overall situation.

Some symptoms to watch out for if you suspect Asperger Syndrome are some of the same symptoms that people with full-blown autism experience. This includes social confusion, first and foremost. Many people with Asperger Syndrome find it very difficult to deal with transition or change, wanting everything to stay the same.

A quickly changing environment is especially confusing. People with Asperger Syndrome also may say rude or inappropriate things when they don’t mean to do so, and may not be able to understand others’ thought processes. Another common trait they share with autistic individuals is fixation, although people with Asperger Syndrome usually have more control over their fixations, which take the form of highly focused interests.

If you suspect yourself or a loved one of this disorder, these are just a few of the signs for which you should be watching. You doctor should be able to answer further questions and provide both reading material and treatment for this disorder.

Self Care strategies for Living with Aspergers

Having a child with Aspergers has the potential to place a great deal of strain on families. Couples struggle with issues of blame, whose fault is it, and guilt. Daily routines are a constant challenge. A special needs child often comes with additional financial costs to the family.

Dealing with the school can seem like a full-time job. The time that it takes to care for a special needs child can leave other family relationships with no attention.

So in order to avoid burnout, parents must make time for themselves.

Parents often respond to this suggestion by saying that they don't have any time to do that!

However, what you need to keep in mind is that even a few minutes a day can make a difference.

Some parents just do such simple things as apply hand lotion or cook their favorite dinners to make themselves feel better.

Parents, just like individuals with Aspergers need rewards in order to be motivated. Parents who have children with autism have even more of a need to reward themselves, because parenting their child is often frustrating and stressful.

In addition to rewarding themselves, family members need to reward one another. Spouses need to acknowledge the hard work that each is achieving. Also remember to thank siblings for watching or helping out their brothers and sisters.

It is also important that spouses try to spend some time alone. Again, the quantity of time is not as important as the quality. This may include watching television together when the children are asleep, going out to dinner, or meeting for lunch when the children are in school.

Families may also want to occasionally engage in activities without the individual with Aspergers. This may include mom, dad and the siblings attending an amusement park together. Often families feel guilty not including the individual with Aspergers, but everyone deserves to enjoy time together that is not threatened by the challenges of Aspergers.

Search your area for support groups or networks. It gives us comfort to know that we are not the only ones experiencing a particularly stressful situation. In addition, one can get the most useful advise from others struggling with the same challenges.

Support groups for parents, siblings and grandparents are available through educational programs, parent resource centers, autism societies and Developmental Disabilities Offices. In addition, there are now online supports available for family members.

Making Eye Contact

Adults who are diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome have suggested that it is easier for them to make eye contact if they don’t have to listen. Some describe situations where having to make eye contact causes breaks in their concentration. So clearly there are some problems for the person with Aspergers if they have to do more than one task like this at the same time (i.e. eye contact and listening).

It is also difficult for a child with Aspergers Syndrome to understand what an individual is communicating through eye contact. Others actually describe the experience of having to make eye contact as frightening.

It is important to recognize that Aspergers Syndrome is a neurological disorder (caused by a medical problem with the brain) and the child is not choosing to behave this way. In fact it may well be a way of the child coping with their environment.

You can create a conducive environment by: 1.) Minimizing distractions - Minimize the distractions for your daughter, provide direction in simple one-two step directions and provide ample times and cues (verbal and/or visual) for completing the task.

2.) Frequent breaks - Allow her to take frequent breaks, or break work into small blocks; she will be able to perform better.

3.) Providing structure - Providing structure to her day and routines, where the same activities occur at the same time everyday, will let her know what to expect.

4.) Break tasks down - Break tasks into small segments; start with 5-10 minute blocks to see what she can handle. Then provide her with a visual cue (like a clock, or timer) to help her monitor her own behavior.

5.) Physical activity - At the end of the segment, provide 5 minutes of activities that will burn some energy and allow her to focus better.

Diet change strategies:

Some parents introduce specific diets for their children with Aspergers in an attempt to improve the condition or relieve uncomfortable physical symptoms. The most widely known diet for people on the autistic spectrum is the Gluten/Casein free diet (GF/CF diet). In this diet all wheat and dairy products are removed.

Reported effects include the reduction of any existing gut/digestive problems, improved attention, eye contact and general behavior. The diet has many devoted followers but all evidence at this time is anecdotal and nothing has been proven.

However if you decide to try the diet it is important to do as much research as possible before you start and to consult your doctor. You may find your doctor is not supportive as this approach is not, as yet, widely accepted by the medical profession; although some doctors may be sympathetic.

Another diet followed is the Feingold Diet which eliminates all artificial colors, preservatives, flavors, etc. and encourages fresh, natural foods.

Vitamin supplements may be used and fish oil supplements are cited as particularly beneficial although this is still a matter of debate. It makes sense to feed any child a healthy, additive free diet and thankfully the medical profession is now acknowledging the effects of diet on behavior.

As with any other diet you may introduce to a person with Aspergers it is wise to consult your primary medical practitioner and to extensively research it via books, the web and through talking with other people who have used the diet.

Do not remove whole food groups from your child’s diet or introduce large doses of vitamins and minerals without specific medical advice.

Vitamin & Nutrient Associations

Even when we try to eat well, we're disadvantaged. The nutritional content of most food has been compromised over the years, not only by deficient soils and modern production, transportation, storage and processing methods, but also by the enormous amounts of chemical and artificial substances added to promote growth, storage life, taste and appearance.

It's for this reason that more and more medical authorities are advocating the use of vitamin and mineral supplements. However, finding them in the right combination can be both confusing and costly.

The nutrition products I am going to recommend you make use of knowledge gained from the botanical world's 6,000 year history. They incorporated health building nutritional herbs with the best modern technology to help our bodies cleanse and detoxify so that the cells - the tiniest living units - can be as fully nourished as possible.

This allows the cells to grow, repair and to perform their functions with the best possible efficiency so that we feel and look better and are more able to prevent and fight disease. Once the body begins to clear itself of toxins it can more efficiently absorb nutrition.

You may find benefit from our information on detoxification as well as a bit about detoxing because of change of diet

It may be due to difficulties with your digestive system that is causing your body to be starved of key nutrients, vitamins or minerals. In this case you may find useful answers by reviewing our article on Nutrition For Your Cells. There is also more information here about why is nutrition such an issue nowadays?

It may be that your metabolism has slowed due to pressures that have been placed on your system through life in general or through specific “challenges” you have faced in the last few months or last few years. Review this by looking at our article about balancing your Metabolic Rate.

Further reading through our articles on Aspergers health issues will give you a body of information that will help you decide what options you have to deal with the underlying causes of your problem through giving your body the nutrition products that will assist you body to heal from the inside out.

We wish you well in your search for solutions to this Aspergers problem and your movement towards better health in all areas.

More Resources available about Aspergers:

What is Autism?
There are many links between autism and the brain. Most people with autism have larger brains and they are “wired” differently than a typical brain. Differences occur in many parts of the brain, so it cannot be targeted to one specific brain malfunction overall, but rather a brain malfunction in general. Autistic children also show signs of an immune deficiency. Evidence in this study is not yet strong, but research is still being done. Many autistic individuals have other health problems related to immune deficiencies.

Overall, these things all seem to point to genetics. Although autism is not the parents’ fault, it is most likely that autism was found elsewhere on your family tree, and it is not uncommon for parents to raise more than one autistic child. Autism may also be linked to vaccinations, although this is still being highly studied. The benefits of vaccinations greatly outweigh the risks of them causing autism, so you should not deprive your child simply because you are fearful. Talk to you doctor if you have concerns about vaccinations.
(To read the rest of this article click on the Title above here.)

Mental Health Problems
Various factors either contribute to or challenge our ability to look after our "whole person". These factors include our degree of self-discipline, how aware we are of our feelings and thoughts, how well we know ourselves.

Factors outside ourselves include the nature of our home and work environment, our financial situation, the current state of our relationships with important people in our lives - friends, partners, families and work colleagues.

The quality of our mental health varies depending on our experience and circumstances. Periods of emotional or financial stress can take their toll on mental health. Working your way, mindfully, through life's difficulties can help us to grow in our emotional life and self-esteem, so that we are even better prepared for future challenges.

If the tension gets too much for us to cope with, however, it can cause us to "break down" emotionally or mentally, that is, not be able to carry on our lives in health. At these times, we may need to ask for help or support while we adjust. Many people live with disability, including physical illness or mental illness, and cope in a healthy way. The challenge for all of us is to search out new ways to cope.

Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide – Written by Dave Angel with Susan Bull, this best-selling ebook provides more in-depth advice and solutions for parents of Aspergers children.
www.AspiesForFreedom.com – Forums, chat rooms and articles about Aspergers & Autism
www.theGrayCenter.org – Non-profit organization dedicated to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their carers.
Sibnet – Community Support Group for siblings of people with special health, developmental and emotional needs.

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