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Deconstructing Asperger’s Syndrome

people who have Asperger Syndrome find the world over stimulating which can make them feel distressed/ Photo By Africa Studio via Shutterstock

 

Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), otherwise known as Asperger Disorder, is a considered a highly-functioning type of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), WebMD states. Individuals who suffer from this may have an average or above average IQ but struggle greatly with their social skills. They also have the inclination to have extreme concentration on a single topic and keep repeating the same behaviors over and over.

It was a condition first recorded in 1944 by an Austrian pediatrician named Hans Asperger. He was able to observe the symptoms in four boys, which he said exhibited, “a lack of empathy, little ability to form friendships, one-sided conversation, intense absorption in a special interest, and clumsy movements.” Due to their intense interest and expertise on certain topics, he called the boys “little professors.” According to Medicinenet.com, it is five times more prevalent in males than females.

The National Autistic Society says that people who have Asperger Syndrome find the world over stimulating which can make them feel distressed. They may struggle with trying to understand others and relating to them. They may often be confused as to why they seem odd to others and that being socially different means that others are unable to accept them. Even people who are socially adept may have a hard time building rapport with someone who has Asperger Syndrome. Usually, they do not appear disabled. Parents would often attribute it to them being naughty or simply as someone whom others have difficulty understanding.
 

Symptoms

A person with Asperger’s Syndrome displays the following symptoms:

1. Struggling with social communication

People who suffer from this condition interpret everything people say literally. They find it hard to comprehend verbal and nonverbal language. They struggle in understanding or using abstracting concepts, showing and interpreting facial expressions, distinguishing the meaning of the tone of voice, have a hard time detecting sarcasm and getting jokes as well as struggle with vagueness in a conversation.

They may have excellent language skills, but may fail to understand the expectations of others in conversing. They may try to reiterate what a person has just mentioned in the conversation or may talk about their own interests for long periods of time.

2. Having difficulty in social interaction

Asperger Syndrome patients may also struggle with identifying people’s feelings and intentions. They also have a difficult time trying to show their emotions to others. As a result, this can make it hard for them to explore the social world.

Due their inability to relate to other’s feelings and intentions, people may perceive them to be insensitive. When they feel that they have been overwhelmed by too many people, they will desire to isolate themselves to have time alone. They may also not seek the comfort of others and may also act in a peculiar or socially inappropriate manner.

They may desire to have friends and engage in social interactions but they do not know how to properly do so, which makes it hard for them to develop friendships.

 

3. Having repetitive behaviors and routines

Those who suffer from Asperger Syndrome may view the world as being too uncertain and overwhelming. They may choose to cling to a daily routine in order to be able to somehow predict what happens to them each day.

To them, rules are everything. They may find it difficult to do something in a different way once they have been taught that doing something in a specific manner is the correct way. Change may make them feel uncomfortable, but they may be able to deal with it well if they are able to get ready for the changes before they happen.

 

4. Highly-focused interests

From childhood, they have gained a deep and intense interest for certain objects or topic. These interests may change as they grow. These can be anything. For example, they may have gotten an extreme interest in computers, trains, music or art. They may choose to pursue their interest further by engaging in activities related to it such as getting a job, doing volunteer work or having an in-depth study of it.
 

people with Asperger’s Syndrome have gained a deep and intense interest for certain objects or topic/ Photo By Photographeeeu via Shutterstock

 

5. Sensory sensitivity

They may experience being over stimulated or under stimulated by certain stimuli such as touch, smell, pain, color, taste and temperature. For instance, some specific sounds which others do not notice may be too noisy or distracting for them. They may feel physical pain from this or have anxiety from it. They may also become obsessed with certain things such as spinning objects and bright lights.
 

Positive Aspects of Asperger’s Syndrome

Experts have discovered that there are symptoms that are actually beneficial to the individual with Asperger Syndrome. People with this condition are known to be able to work independently, have a heightened ability to focus on details that others may not instantly recognize, the ability to keep pursuing their interest without being influenced by people’s opinions, the ability to identify patterns that others may not notice immediately, depth and a unique way of thinking.

 

Causes

Some mental health professionals infer that Asperger’s Syndrome may have been caused by genetic factors. If their family has a history of autism or Asperger’s Syndrome, then they are likely to get it as well. Other factors that may have been involved include teratogens (or things that may cause an embryo to be deformed), being exposed to toxic substances, pregnancy or birth complications, or infections that have been present before birth.

 

proper treatment  can help them handle their hardship in communicating and socializing/ Photo By Photographeeeu via Shutterstock

 

Treatment

Depending on the kind of symptoms a person suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome has, they can try different methods of treatment. They may undergo some therapies or take some medication prescribed by their doctor.

Therapy

Social Skills Training

This type of therapy may either be done as a group or in a one-on-one setting. The therapist will guide the patient on how to appropriately interact with others and how to properly express themselves. The patient will try to learn social skills by trying to imitate people’s typical behavior in a social situation.

Speech-language Therapy

Under this therapy, the patient will be taught how to be able to enhance their communication skills. They may be educated on how to employ different tones when speaking rather than just being monotone in their speech or how to be able to correctly interpret social cues such as eye contact and hand gestures.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

If a patient tries this therapy, they may be able to learn how to change their thought patterns which can aid them in regulating their feelings and repetitive behaviors. In the process, they may also learn to deal with intense emotions such as meltdowns, obsessions, and outbursts.

Parent education and training

This kind of therapy also involves the parents. The therapist will be able to teach the parents the social techniques the patient was taught. This can assist them in helping the patient practice their social skills at home. They may also consult a counsellor to help them handle the problems they may face in living with someone who suffers Asperger’s Syndrome.

Applied behavior analysis

In Applied behavior analysis, the therapist will use positive reinforcement to help them improve their social skills.

 

Medication

Although there are no known medications formulated to specifically cure Asperger’s Syndrome, they may help address the symptoms linked to it like depression or anxiety. The doctor may recommend medicines such as Antipsychotic drugs, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and Stimulant medicines.

If the patient undergoes the proper treatment, it can help them handle their hardship in communicating and socializing. Directing their interests to productive pursuits is also shown to enhance their well-being and increase their happiness.

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