Aspergers syndrome Clinical features

This condition is characterized by impairments in social interaction and restricted interests and behaviours as seen in autism. However, the child's early development is marked by a lack of any clinically significant delay in spoken or receptive language, cognitive development, self-help skills, and curiosity about the environment. Consistent with Asperger's^..3' original report all-absorbing and intense circumscribed interests as well motor clumsiness are typical, but are not required for diagnosis. The validity of this condition, apart from high-functioning autism and PDD not otherwise specified ( PDD-NOS) is controversial. Available research is difficult to interpret given the markedly different ways in which the diagnostic concept has been used. Differences are more likely to be noted relative to autism if a rather stringent diagnostic approach is used. Evidence for external validity of the condition relative to autism includes differences in neuropsychological profiles, patterns of comorbidity, and family history.

Persons with Asperger's syndrome often exhibit a somewhat eccentric social style rather than the more passive or aloof style noted in autism; for example, they may engage others in very one-sided conversations about their area of special interest. They over-rely on rigid rules for social interaction and may fail to 'see the forest for the trees' in social matters (e.g. an appreciation of exactly when the usual rules do not apply is as important as when they do).

While early speech-communication skills are apparently normal, certain aspects of communication become more deviant over time. Prosody may be poor, rate of speech may also be unusual, or it may have a somewhat disorganized, tangential, and circumstantial quality. The issue of whether such persons are at increased risk for thought disorder and psychosis remains unresolved, but some part of this impression probably reflects these difficulties.

It is rather typical for patients to amass considerable factual information about their topic of interest, which they pursue with great intensity; Asperger originally observed that family life may revolve around the topic of special interest. He also suggested that motor clumsiness was present and, although not required for the diagnosis, there is often a history of motor delay and persistent motor awkwardness—for instance, the child may talk before he walks, have trouble catching a ball, learning to ride a bicycle, and so forth.

Differences in neuropsychological profiles have been reported. (72> A stringent diagnostic approach may suggest areas of relative strengths (auditory and verbal skills and rote-learning) and weakness (visuomotor and visuoperceptual skills); this pattern differs from that observed in higher functioning individuals with autism. (6)

Interest in the condition has revolved around the possibility that it might represent a transition between autism and other disorders such as schizophrenia. Associated conditions have included depression, anxiety and other mood problems, violence, and other psychotic conditions. (72> Unfortunately, almost all of this literature rests on case reports; controlled studies are needed.

Understanding And Treating Autism

Understanding And Treating Autism

Whenever a doctor informs the parents that their child is suffering with Autism, the first & foremost question that is thrown over him is - How did it happen? How did my child get this disease? Well, there is no definite answer to what are the exact causes of Autism.

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