About 75 to 80 per cent of children with autism also have mental retardation and there is also an association with a number of medical conditions such as epilepsy, tuberous sclerosis, congenital rubella syndrome, and phenylketonuria. (20) Autism is associated with high levels of emotional and behavioural problems and burden of care. The DSM-IV and the equivalent ICD-10 diagnostic criteria for pervasive developmental disorders have assisted in providing an international consensus in diagnosis, although some diagnostic dilemmas still remain. The diagnosis of Asperger's disorder is excluded by the presence of mental retardation and delayed and deviant language development, yet there are some children with mental retardation who have non-deviant language development consistent with their developmental level who fulfil the specific social deficit and behavioural criteria for Asperger's disorder. Children with autism also frequently present with additional comorbid symptoms such as ADHD, obsessive and compulsive behaviour, anxiety, depression, and tics. These comorbid symptoms may also respond to specific treatment; however, it has not yet been resolved whether or not these symptoms should be regarded as an epiphenomenon of autism rather than a separate comorbid condition. From a practical point of view, it is useful to identify these comorbid symptoms and treat them appropriately.
Children with mental retardation have delayed language development and may have stereotypic behaviours and a restricted range of interests, but they can be differentiated from those who have autism because they show an ability and interest to communicate, use gesture and imitation, show an interest in reciprocal and imitative play, and interact responsively and with emotion in a manner appropriate to their developmental level.
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Learn How to Help, Understand amp Cope with your Aspergers Child from a UK Chartered Educational Psychologist. Before beginning any practice relating to Aspergers it is highly recommended that you first obtain the consent and advice of a qualified health,education or social care professional.