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The Facts about Asperger Syndrome
Belonging to the family of disorders characterized as Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD), Asperger Syndrome is a form of Autism that affects the way a person interacts with others. This disorder, unlike its sister disease of Autism, rarely affects an individual’s language or cognitive skills, but has a large bearing on a child’s ability to relate socially to other individuals.
Quite often, children with Asperger Syndrome (most often boys) are diagnosed much letter than those with Autism, usually between the ages of 5 and 9 years old. Symptoms are sometimes misdiagnosed, but Autism experts can easily recognize the patterns of this disorder.
Children who are plagued by this syndrome exhibit three main areas of difficulty: 1) a lack of imagination and creative play; 2) difficulty with social relationships; and 3) difficulty in communicating.
Rather than enjoying make-believe scenarios and other creative playtime pursuits, kids with Asperger Syndrome excel at memorization and enjoy learning facts and figures. As a matter of fact, these children often repeat these statistics ad nauseum, much to the annoyance of their peers and often resulting in their being characterized as “geeks.” This is also a reason why many Asperger-afflicted children are bullied and tormented at school, where they are often mainstreamed into regular classrooms due to their high level of intelligence.
Similarly, these children love repetitive routines and are often upset if these routines are broken or altered. Changes in school schedules can easily cause difficulties for children with Asperger Syndrome.
Children and adults with this disorder find it hard to understand non-verbal signals, including facial expressions. This makes it more difficult for them to form social skills and maintain social relationships, especially with those who may not be familiar with their disease and its limitations.
Though many Asperger Syndrome kids speak fluently, they often have difficulty listening. They are also perplexed by metaphors and other statements that can’t be taken literally. This can be a barrier to communication, even with those who know them best.
There is no answer as to how or why this disorder develops, though findings suggest that Asperger’s is linked to genetics, even more so than Autism. Though there is no cure, guidelines are available which suggest ways in which a child or adult with Asperger Syndrome can more easily assimilate into society.
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