boy with aspergers syndrome

What is Aspergers syndrome?

When you first encounter someone with Aspergers syndrome, you could immediately notice two things. They are equally intelligent as everyone else, but they struggle more with social skills. They frequently repeat the same activities or exhibit excessive attention to one particular subject. Aspergers syndrome was once treated separately by doctors. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5’’s) most recent version, released in 2013, altered how mental disorders are categorized.

Aspergers syndrome affected boy is sitting on the bench with his father

Aspergers syndrome is no longer considered a stand-alone diagnosis in the modern world. It now falls within the umbrella of the autism spectrum condition (ASD). These linked illnesses have certain symptoms in common. Yet, the name “Aspergers” is still often used. Doctors classify the illness as a “high-functioning” form of ASD. The symptoms are therefore less severe than those of other autism spectrum diseases.

A new diagnosis termed social pragmatic communication disorder, which has certain characteristics with Aspergers syndrome, is also part of the DSM-5. It is a term used by doctors to describe persons of average intelligence who have difficulty speaking and writing.

Symptoms of Aspergers Syndrome

They begin at a young age. If your child has it, you could notice that they have trouble making eye contact. Also, you could notice that your child feels uneasy in social settings and struggles to reply when others speak to them. They could overlook social clues that are clear to others, such as body language or facial expressions. For instance, they can be unaware that someone is furious when they cross their arms and grimace. Your youngster may not display many emotions as another indication. They might not laugh or grin when they are pleased. They could also have a flat, robotic tone of voice.

If your child has the condition, they may focus intensely on a particular topic, such as rocks or football statistics, and talk about themselves most of the time. Also, they could speak incessantly about a subject that interests them. They could repeatedly do the same actions. They could detest change as well. For instance, they could eat the same meal every morning or struggle to go from one lesson to the next during the school day.

How Do You Get a Diagnosis?

See your physician if you spot any symptoms in your kid. They can suggest one of the following mental health professionals who focuses in ASDs:

  • Psychologists identify and address emotional and behavioral issues.
  • Pediatric neurologists: They care for brain disorders.
  • Pediatricians that specialize in developmental difficulties such as speech and language disorders.
  • Psychiatrists are specialists in mental health issues and can provide prescriptions for drugs to treat them.

A collaborative approach is frequently used to address the illness. This implies that you could take your child to more than one doctor for treatment.

The doctor will inquire about your child’s conduct and ask questions like:

  • What signs do they exhibit, and when did you notice them for the first time?
  • How does your child communicate? When did they start speaking?
  • Do they have any specific interests or activities in mind?
  • Do they communicate with people well, and do they have friends?

They will then watch your kid in various scenarios to see how they act and communicate.

Treatment for Aspergers Syndrome

As every child is unique, there isn’t a single strategy that works for all of them. To discover the right treatment, your doctor may need to try a few different approaches. Treatments may consist of:

Social skills instruction: 

Therapists instruct your child in proper methods to connect with others and express themselves in groups or one-on-one sessions. The most effective way to develop social skills is to imitate common conduct.

Speech-language therapy: 

This aids in your child’s improvement of communication abilities. For instance, kids will learn to talk with a natural up-and-down pattern rather than a flat tone. Also, they will learn how to maintain a two-way conversation and recognize social indicators like eye contact and hand gestures.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for aspergers syndrome:

It aids in your child’s mental transformation so they can better manage their emotions and habitual behaviors. Outbursts, meltdowns, and obsessions will be easier for them to control.

Parent education and training: 

You’ll pick up many of the same methods your kids are learning so you can help them develop their social skills at home. To cope with the difficulties of having a member of the family with Aspergers, some families also seek the assistance of a counselor.

Applied behavior analysis:

This is a strategy that promotes in your child healthy social and communication skills while discouraging undesirable conduct. To achieve improvements, the therapist will employ compliments or other forms of “positive reinforcement”.

Medicine:

There aren’t any medications FDA-approved for treating Aspergers or autism spectrum illnesses. Yet, certain drugs can assist with associated symptoms including anxiety and despair. Some of these may be recommended by your doctor:

  • inhibitors of selective serotonin reuptake (SSRIs)
  • psychedelic medications
  • stimulating drugs

Your kid can learn to manage some of the social and communication difficulties they experience with the correct care. They are capable of succeeding academically and thereafter.

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