Asperger’s syndrome is a disorder marked by difficulties in everyday social interactions, first appearing early on in childhood and sometimes persisting into adulthood. Considered the least severe form of autism, people with Asperger’s syndrome usually have difficulty with nonverbal communication such as maintaining eye contact, often being unaware of body language and personal space.
Unlike with autism, those with Asperger’s syndrome generally do not suffer from any deficits in cognition, although clumsiness and odd use of language is sometimes displayed. Although people with Asperger’s do not have any difficulty with verbal communication in itself, it is sometimes hard for them to understand verbal cues and humor, often speaking continuously in social situations without giving anyone else a chance.
Named after Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger, the idea of Asperger’s syndrome became prevalent by 1981 and was included as an official disorder by the early 1990s. Due to many similarities between Asperger’s and HFA, or high functioning autism, the former disorder has been removed from the latest edition of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Health Disorders” in order for an autism spectrum disorders category with a severity scale. However, the term is still used informally to refer to mild autism that does not include the deficits in language and cognition that are usually seen with autism by age three.
Signs of Asperger’s syndrome
In order for a child or adolescent to be diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, they must meet at least a couple of the following conditions:
A significant and continuing difficulty in social interactions, including nonverbal behaviors (facial expressions, eye contact, body language and clumsy behavior) and sympathizing with others. Children with Asperger’s will often be unresponsive in conversational cues, failing to stay on the other person’s topic of interest. Although people with Asperger’s are not inherently selfish, their stunted social mannerisms often make it hard for them to forge and maintain friendships
There is no significant delay in speaking or cognitive development. If communicative phrases are not developed by age three, then the condition would be considered as regular autism
Repetitive interests and behaviors such as an interest with the individual parts of an object, compulsive mannerisms and fixation on specific topics with abnormal intensity (such as memorizing sports stats or car models). People with Asperger’s usually follow a specific routine with very little flexibility in regards to altering their schedule
The symptoms cause a significant impairment in some aspect of the person’s life
Unlike autism, Asperger’s is not considered a learning disability, with the only impairment young adults with the condition suffer from being a social one. Many people with Asperger’s can actually excel in language, being able to talk at an early age or having a fascination with decoding letters and numbers. Also dissimilar to autism, children with the disorder are able to develop close relationships despite their difficulties connecting with others, although it usually only extends to their relationships with their immediate family members.
Causes and treatment
The exact causes for Asperger’s is still unknown, with no known genetic basis found or pathology seen in brain scans. The primary method of treatment for autism spectrum disorders is with behavioral therapies, namely verbal behavior therapy, which focuses on deficits in communication and social skills as well as obsessive routines. Although most symptoms of autism in children diminish by adulthood, many issues still persist for life. Due to the general ineffectiveness of treatment for autism spectrum disorders, some researchers view the condition as a disability rather than a disorder.
White River Academy
At White River Academy, our team of mental and behavioral healthcare professionals utilizes a host of therapeutic approaches to treat conditions such as autistic spectrum disorders in young men aged 12 to 17. Fostering a positive peer culture, we do not only treat addiction and mental health disorders, but help adolescents assist each other and develop life skills such as responsibility and personal accountability.
Unlike many Asperger’s syndrome boarding schools, we also possess a SEVIS certification, allowing us to treat teens from any country allowed a U.S. visa, enriching the degree of intercultural interaction and education. White River Academy does not only offer recovery to young men from all over the world, but the tools to become a more confident and responsible adult as well. If you have any questions about our male boarding school, feel free to contact our admissions team today at 866-520-0905.