Asperger's Syndrome: By Nikita Nandakumar 9.4

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Common and Scientific name:

It's common name is Asperger's Syndrome and it does not have a separate scientific name.

What causes the disease:

Asperger's Syndrome is caused by the following--

  • Scientific observation has suggests that there is a genetic contribution to Asperger's syndrome.
  • As Asperger's syndrome is a type of an autistic disorder, it could also happen if someone in the family has behavioral problems.
  • Many people think that it can be caused by emotional trauma or other experiences, but as a matter of fact this is not true because in most cases of this syndrome, kids have had it since birth and it has more to do with genetics.
  • A few ASD (autism spectrum disorders) cases have been linked to exposure to teratogens (agents that cause birth defects) during the first eight weeks from conception

What are the symptoms? How long do they last? Is it deadly?

The symptoms of Asperger's syndrome are the following--

  • As the symptoms of Asperger's syndrome are often hard to differentiate from other behavioral problems, it's best to let a doctor or other health professional evaluate your child's symptoms
  • inappropriate or minimal social interactions
  • conversations almost always revolving around self rather than others
  • "scripted," "robotic," or repetitive speech
  • lack of "common sense"
  • problems with reading, math, or writing skills
  • obsession with complex topics such as patterns or music
  • average to below-average nonverbal cognitive abilities, though verbal cognitive abilities are usually average to above-average
  • awkward movements
  • odd behaviors or mannerisms
  • fear of things for eg. certain colors, sounds etc.
  • Dislike any changes of routines.

Note: Unlike kids with autism, those with AS might show no delays in language development; they usually have good grammatical skills and an advanced vocabulary at an early age. However, they typically do exhibit a language disorder — they might be very literal and have trouble using language in a social context. Often there are no obvious delays in cognitive development or in age-appropriate self-help skills such as feeding and dressing themselves. Although kids with AS can have problems with attention span and organization, and have skills that seem well developed in some areas and lacking in others, they usually have average and sometimes above-average intelligence.

This is a life long disease. You are born with it and will have it forever. As there are no cures to the disease as of now it is a bit difficult for those living with the problem. It isn't deadly if there is someone to take care of the patient.

Can it be cured? If not are there ways to decrease the disease?

The simple answer to this is NO, but there are ways a person can cope with it. Asperger Syndrome is a developmental disability affecting the way the brain processes information. Children who have Asperger Syndrome become adults with Asperger Syndrome. The good point of this is much can be achieved with the appropriate education and support. Through counseling these kids/adults can learn to control their feelings and slowly get over their fears.

Facts/Myths on the disease:

These are some facts/myths that people have on this topic:

  • Most people with Asperger’s Syndrome are of average or above average intelligence.
  • They have excellent thinking skills where things are concerned but are extremely poor at interpreting human relationships.
  • Asperger’s Syndrome is often detected when a child starts preschool. He will generally interact better with his teacher than his peers and may display silly, loud, aggressive or socially withdrawn behavior.
  • Things are interpreted very literally, meaning that sarcasm, playful teasing and figures of speech are not understood
  • Rules are very important and a child may become angry if a game is not played fairly or his peers break school rules.
  • On a positive note, this aversion to rule-breaking means the Asperger’s Syndrome child is less likely to experiment with smoking, drinking, drugs, and sex as he matures.