Psychology and Psychiatry

Asperger Syndrome

Asperger Syndrome - it is a developmental disorder, which is marked by serious difficulties in social interaction, as well as a recurring, stereotypical, limited repertoire of actions, activities, interests. Asperger syndrome is distinguished from autism by the preservation of speech as well as cognitive abilities, expressed by clumsiness. This disorder got its name in honor of Hans Asperger, an Austrian pediatrician and psychiatrist who described children in 1944, who are characterized by a lack of ability to non-verbal communication and limited empathy regarding peers was observed. Asperger himself applied the significance of the disorder regarding physical discomfort in children.

The term Asperger syndrome was first proposed in 1981 by the English psychiatrist Lorna Wing. The modern concept of disorder arose in the same 1981 and, at the beginning of the 1990s, diagnostic standards were developed.

Regarding various aspects of the syndrome, there are a lot of unresolved issues and it remains unknown whether this disorder differs from high-grade autism. It was generally proposed to abandon the diagnosis of Asperger syndrome, changing it to the diagnosis of the disease of the autism spectrum with the specification of severity. The exact cause of this syndrome has not been finally established, although studies do not exclude the possibility of a genetic base, but there is no known genetic etiology. Difficulties arise with treatment: there is no one, and existing methods of treatment support are limited.

Many children get better as they get older, but communication and social problems may persist. Some researchers, as well as individuals with this disorder, suggest that it is right to attribute Asperger syndrome to distinction, not disability. This disorder is a common developmental disorder. Statistics have information that boys are more likely to be upset, and of all registered cases, they make up 80%. Some scientists put forward the version that this syndrome indicates a significant difference in the functioning of the brain in men than in women and therefore men are more often talented and brilliant. This mental disorder was noted in Newton, Einstein, director Steven Spielberg.

Currently there is no consensus on how to call this symptom complex: a syndrome or a disorder. Researchers have proposed renaming Asperger syndrome into an autistic spectrum disorder, dividing it into severity levels.

So, Asperger syndrome is a lifelong disorder characterized by severe difficulties in social interaction, perception of the world around it, as well as a recurring, stereotypical set of activities and interests.

Causes of Asperger Syndrome

Uniform and exact causes of the origin of the disease have not been identified, presumably it has the same roots as autism. The main role in the development of this syndrome is assigned to the genetic factor (heredity). There are cases when representatives of one family to some extent have signs of Asperger syndrome.

The causes of the disorder also include the influence of biological and harmful (teratogenic) factors acting on a woman’s body at the beginning of pregnancy.

In addition, they suggest the influence of environmental factors after birth, but this theory exists without scientific confirmation.

Signs of Asperger Syndrome

Being a latent disorder, it is very difficult to identify Asperger syndrome in appearance.

Diagnose a disorder by a known triad of disorders:

  • social communication;
  • social interaction;
  • social imagination.

Children with Asperger syndrome significantly stand out among other children, and the child himself who suffers from this syndrome also notes that it is different from others.

Asperger syndrome in children and its symptoms affect communication. The disorder is expressed in the difficulty of understanding intonations, gestures, facial expressions. The kid is not able to intonate his speech and can not understand the emotions of other people. In appearance, such a child seems indifferent, as well as emotionally balanced. This provokes difficulty in communication and inability to make friends.

Children with this disorder cannot start a conversation, pick up an interesting topic for conversation, are not able to understand that it is time to end the conversation if it did take place, but does not represent any interest to the interlocutor. The little ones use sentences and complex words not fully and without understanding their meaning, however often they confuse the interlocutor with their knowledge. Such children tend to have a literal understanding of information, one or another phrase, they have no sense of humor, they do not understand the veiled language, irony and sarcasm.

Asperger syndrome in adults and its symptoms are noted in social interaction. Such people do not understand the unwritten social rules (one should not stand too close to the interlocutor, thus violating the living space, it is necessary to follow the rules of decency and tact in speech).

People suffering from Asperger Syndrome are difficult to create as well as maintain friendly relations.

They cannot realize that friendship implies such notions as empathy, the ability to wait, each other's support, sympathy, discussion not only of his topics of interest, but also of the interests of a friend. Often tactlessness, as well as incorrectness in dealing with other individuals, repels them.

After a while, people with Asperger syndrome learn behavioral norms as well as concepts of friendship based on intuitive copying. The patients themselves often have a fine mental organization, but they often offend others with personal statements, not understanding and not wanting it. People with this syndrome often have a rich imagination and imagination. Among them are many famous writers, scientists, musicians.

Asperger syndrome in adults is manifested in the inability to play role-playing and creative games, it is difficult for people to portray and pretend to be someone. Such people prefer those activities and games that require a sequence of actions and logic (solving math problems, solving puzzles, crossword puzzles). Considering the world as chaotic and chaotic, these people strive to establish a certain and strict order in their little world. They tend to create certain rigid rules and rituals, strictly complying with them and forcing them to obey others. For example, the road to work must be the same, without any deviations, the rules are also late. Any shift can provoke severe anxiety, depression. For adults suffering from this disorder, it often causes a certain difficulty, as well as the ability to interpret intonations, feelings, thoughts of other people, since they are not able to perceive body language (facial expressions and gestures). They are very hard to perceive the opinions of other people, because it often differs from their own.

Symptoms of Asperger Syndrome

The disorder manifests itself in the following symptoms: obsession with narrow interests, sensory disturbances, physical awkwardness, sleep problems.

People with this syndrome are prone to possession of excessive collecting, hobbies, and other hobbies. Moreover, all these hobbies can be so narrow that they are often incomprehensible to others. Often the interests are reduced primarily to means of transportation, mathematics, computers, astronomy. Knowledge of the topics of interest to them is so deep that they achieve success in the professional field.

Individuals with this syndrome are sometimes very sensitive and do not tolerate bright light, noise, certain types of food, harsh odors.

Asperger syndrome in children is noted in insufficient development of skills that require dexterity, children often face difficulties in developing fine motor skills (it is difficult to cut with scissors, write, sculpt). Their gait may be unstable, reeling, due to impaired coordination of movements. Such individuals cannot perform consistent small movements. They have problems and difficulties with sleep (night awakening, problems with falling asleep, a hard early morning rise).

The diagnosis of Asperger syndrome is carried out by a group of specialists from different fields. Genetic, neurological examinations are conducted, psychomotor skills are investigated, intellectual tests are carried out, and the capacity for independent living is determined.

Asperger syndrome is diagnosed in the age range from 3 to 10 years and the earlier the diagnosis is established, the less traumatic it is for the family and for the child.

Traits of the disorder in children can be detected by teachers, parents, doctors, overseeing the development, but the final confirmation of the diagnosis is made by a child or adolescent psychiatrist.

To exclude organic brain diseases, neurological diagnosis (MRI of the brain, EEG) is performed.

Asperger Syndrome Treatment

There is no specific treatment for Asperger syndrome. Individual pharmacological support includes prescription of psychotropic drugs (psychostimulants, neuroleptics, antidepressants). Non-drug therapy consists of social skills training, speech therapy classes, exercise therapy, and cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy.

The effectiveness of social adaptation of children with Asperger syndrome depends on the proper organization of psychological and pedagogical support of the child at different stages of his life.

Children with Asperger Syndrome can attend secondary school, but they need to create individualized learning conditions (to create a stable environment, create motivation, promote academic success, accompany a tutor, etc.).

This disorder is not completely overcome and the child, growing up, remains with the same problems. One third of sick people in adulthood create families, live independently, work in regular work. The most successful are individuals, showing a high level of competence in their areas of interest.