is part of the autism spectrum disorder
(ASD), a group of disorders that affects the development of social and communication skills.
Unlike many children with ASD, children with Asperger syndrome do not have early language delays, and often have well developed language skills and normal to above average intelligence. However, they may use unusual speech patterns and have a hard time understanding irony, humor, and sarcasm or gestures and social cues important to normal conversation.
Many children with Asperger syndrome develop an obsessive interest in one topic or object. They may use high-level vocabulary or complex statistics in conversation.
Children with Asperger syndrome may have delayed motor skills and thus can appear uncoordinated and clumsy compared to their peers. Other features of Asperger syndrome include difficulty interacting with peers, inappropriate social or emotional behavior, and engaging in repetitive routines.
Both children and adults with Asperger syndrome are at an increased risk for depression
, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
disorders, and other mental health disorders.
The cause of Asperger syndrome, like most ASDs, is not fully understood, but there is a strong genetic basis, which means it does tend to run in families.
Multiple environmental factors
are also thought to play an important role in the development of all ASDs.
Treatment for Asperger syndrome depends on each person's age and needs, and the recommendation is for treatment to begin as early as possible.
Many people with Asperger syndrome can learn strategies to manage their symptoms.
Treatment may include behavioral therapy, speech and language therapy, support in school, and mental health counseling. Medications may sometimes be used for behavioral or mood disorders.
Of note: the newest edition, updated in 2013, of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders(DSM-V), which is used predominantly in the United States (US), replaced the terms Asperger syndrome and other pervasive developmental disorders with the umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. This means that currently, Asperger syndrome is not officially considered a separate disorder in US, but instead it is now part of the autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, many doctors still use this term. The World Health Organization International Classification of Diseases, (ICD-11) which is used in other countries throughout the world still uses Asperger syndrome as a subtype of ASD.
Last updated: 11/15/2017