What Is Asperger’s Syndrome?
Asperger’s syndrome is a type of autism that is characterized by social and communication difficulties, alongside repetitive or restrictive patterns of behavior. Formerly considered a standalone condition, it got categorized as an autism spectrum disorder. People with Asperger`s Syndrome have difficulty communicating and find it challenging reading social signals.
Symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome
Asperger’s syndrome affects social mechanisms and can be terribly problematic if it doesn`t get the required medical treatment. It has many symptoms, some of which show up early, usually in the first year of life. Some of these symptoms are clumsiness, poorly coordinated motor skills, and awkwardness. Let`s discuss more symptoms.
People with Asperger’s syndrome usually have difficulty with rhythm and intonation, and as a result, can`t speak as others do. They sound flat, monotonous, unusually slow, or in other cases, too fast, with inappropriate volume. They also have difficulty engaging in friendly conversations, as they usually sound formal.
Restrictive and Repetitive Interests
People with Asperger`s syndrome usually become near-experts in a topic or get overly interested in an object, leaving out others. They speak and act obsessively about their interests and never get tired of them, however, make people around them tired of listening.
They have rules and rituals that they methodically maintain in order to get around their daily activities. Disrupting these rituals can confuse them.
Poor Motor Development
They may struggle with carrying out detailed tasks such as tying shoelaces, or even seemingly easy and natural activities like swinging their arms as they walk.
Problems with Proximity
People with Asperger`s syndrome often don`t know what it means to be too close in proximity. People around them may be uncomfortable during conversations because they don`t give enough space.
Their social skills are usually off, and may only engage in conversations about their singular interest which bore people around them due to repetitiveness. This is a major reason they`re usually isolated. They get withdrawn, uninterested in others, and find it challenging keeping relationships.
People living with Asperger`s syndrome tend to misunderstand jokes, irony, and sarcasm, as they give a literal interpretation to virtually everything. This often gets them frustrated and confused.
They find it challenging to imagine scenarios and alternative outcomes to situations, so make-believe games and roleplay may not be effective with them.
How to Manage Asperger`s Syndrome
It is great to do an accurate diagnosis of the patient’s condition in order to have a clear understanding of the challenges they have. That way, they can get better support and cope with the condition more easily. There are therapies that can help Asperger’s syndrome patients deal with anxiety and adapt their behavior for a better social outcome. Let`s explore some of the options.
People living with Asperger`s syndrome require specialized speech and language therapy to help them learn how to use language better, and as a result, relate better with people and get less isolated. Their therapy may include learning how to use voice tones in questions, declarations, disagreements, confirmations, and instructions. They may also learn how to interpret and respond to verbal and non-verbal cues.
Education and Academic Skills
After diagnosing a child of Asperger`s syndrome, they should get some educational support to address their learning needs, discover their interests, and help them hone these interests to achieve the best that they can with them.
Because they naturally have poor social skills, experts should focus on improving their interaction with people. They may need to learn how to read social cues and relate with people better, based on accepted societal norms which the condition has hindered them from naturally understanding.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT helps people suffering from Asperger`s syndrome control their emotions and put a check on their obsessions. This way, they can better manage their interests and repetitive routines.
Behavior modification entails applying strategies to support positive behavior and decrease ineffective behavior.
Occupational or Physical Therapy
This therapy helps patients who have poor motor coordination and sensory integration problems.
There are no precise medications for treating Asperger`s syndrome, however, experts can treat some of its symptoms, such as anxiety with prescribed medications.
Meals that are gluten-free, as well as vitamin supplements, are helpful in dealing with anxiety and cognitive issues. Studies show that fish oil also falls in this category.
Studies also reveal that music therapy, acupuncture, sensory integration therapy, and massage may also help people living with Asperger`s syndrome.
The Role of Caregivers in Managing Asperger`s Syndrome
Not everyone is trained in dealing with people suffering from Asperger’s syndrome, however, there are basics that people around them should know. Let’s take a look at them.
Caregivers should read on the condition and speak with the patient’s therapy to have a clear understanding of the specific needs that they have.
They should learn some of the strategies required to help patients feel supported and taking them out of isolation.
Caregivers should avoid making changes in the environments of patients without preparing them for it.
Parents who are have confirmed that their children have Asperger’s syndrome should communicate with their children`s school in order to get the support they need.
Causes of Asperger`s Syndrome
The exact cause of the condition is unknown, however, it is most likely a combination of genetic and environmental factors that cause changes in brain development. Asperger`s syndrome runs in some families, which confirms that some cases are hereditary.
Some studies propose that certain environmental factors early in pregnancy may be a cause of the condition, however, research is still ongoing on this. but experts have not yet confirmed this.
Another cause of the syndrome is brain abnormalities. Advanced brain imaging technology has revealed that there are structural and functional differences in some regions of the brain of people living with Asperger`s syndrome.
Complications of Asperger`s Syndrome
Social isolation and depression can be consequences of Asperger’s syndrome. The complications of Asperger’s syndrome can cause other challenges for patients, and oftentimes, these challenges are not necessarily related to the syndrome.
Some patients suffer distorted sensory sensitivity, making their senses either intensified or underdeveloped. This can alter how they perceive environmental occurrences such as intense smells, food textures, noise, bright lights, among others.
Anxiety and Depression
How to Diagnose Asperger`s Syndrome
There is no specific test for Asperger’s syndrome, however, there are ways to diagnose it. Here you go!
Some physical tests, such as blood tests, hearing, or X-rays can help rule out the speculations that the patient may be suffering from other conditions. As important as early diagnosis is, it can be difficult because of the wide range of symptoms that patients have. An accurate diagnosis may not be practicable until adulthood.
To diagnose a child, the medical team will consist of a pediatrician, a psychologist, and some other specialists. With the information they have on the child, they may make some observations and draw conclusions. Parents, teachers, and caregivers who have been with the child will be helpful in giving information on such children.
In diagnosing adults, specialists need to get adequate information on the developmental history of such persons. Their family, friends, and colleagues will be in the right positions to supply some of the required details.
Now that you Know…
Relating with, and caring for people living with Asperger`s syndrome will be much easier, now that you know what the condition entails, and the needs of such people.