What Is Asperger’s Syndrome?
Is he weird? He doesn’t hold eye contact! He is a genius but he hardly communicate maybe he is too proud of himself! Why is he/she is so dissociated with reality? Why doesn’t this person understand logic and diplomacy? Calls end in just few seconds? This person is so obsessed with certain thoughts or situations!..
Once upon time… there were DSM-V and ICD 11 and they are still diagnostic manual for mental disorders and you must be wondering what those above phrases or questions are about though they seem very common and familiar and you might be right. Those are few characteristic of Asperger’s Syndrome.
Autism Spectrum Disorder:- ASD is a complex developmental condition that involves persistent challenges in social interaction, speech and non-verbal communication and repetitive/ restricted behaviors. Autism Spectrum Disorders generally appears in later developmental phases of child for instance 2 years and further. One of the most common ASD is Asperger’s Syndrome.
Asperger’s Syndrome:- definition according to DSM-IV-TR is a pervasive developmental disorder that is distinguished by a pattern of symptoms rather than a single symptom.
Symptoms and characteristics of Asperger’s syndrome.
- Person with Asperger’s can be obsessed with a narrow state of interest. They might be show great skills in particular state of interest in early age and excelled in particular field later in life.
- A child or even adult person with Asperger’s might reflect speech difference like verbal rhythm, repetitive phrases, monotone pitches. Raised volume of voice.
- Delayed motor skills development:- a person with AS might find difficultly in early stage in life with holding things like pencil. They can face difficulty in gross motor skills. Though these characteristics vary on severity of the AS condition.
- Difficulty in social skills:- person or child with AS usually finds it difficult to communicate even with their family. They usually avoid social gatherings and have few friends who they feel comfortable with. The emotional intelligence and feeling of AS person might vary but they do have difficulty with expressing themselves in front of others and also communicating their feeling and thoughts. They might feel offended very easily and are often have very rigid opinion about things.
- It can be observed that this people have entangled thoughts which are difficult to decode and process thus they might suffer from extreme onset of anxiety and depression. As they are usually regarded as introverts and people who live in their own bubble these aspects are often neglected thus according to the research there is high rate of suicidal tendencies and suicide mortality rate in this population.
- One of the traits of AS population is detail orientation and dedication. Though people find it difficult to program in crowd, you might often see them on higher management with greater efficacy to work and workaholic nature in which high degree of attention is given to detailing. They are persistent whenever they start a cause or a project. They accomplish their goals at any cost and are very hard working with no filters and shortcuts.
- A person with AS shows high integrity and are away from unnecessary drama and politics. They are very loyal friends, business partners and family members.
- One of the prominent characteristics is they have a very rigid routine and rituals for instance if they wish to wake up at 4 a.m. they will wake up at the particular time or they might show no interest in activities which they would not want in their schedule. Rituals like wearing same pattern clothes, having same haircut for years, having preplanned paths for years is observed.
- People with mild Asperger’s Syndrome have often recorded high IQ with social awkwardness and difficulty in communications.
Scientific research and causes:
- Exact cause of Asperger’s Syndrome is unknown but according to research it’s a combination of brain complication and environmental factors which cause changes in brain development. Some studies suggest Asperger’s tend to run in family thus genetics is also important.
- Asperger’s Syndrome is more common in males than in females. Biology says the brain of people with autism shows patterns of gene expression that looks more like typical male than typical female. Microglia, immune cells in the brain that clears away debris and sculpt neuronal connections. There are prevalence of mutations in inheritance of the genes.
- According to the recent studies 1 out of 70 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum disorder and further classified into the umbrella of this spectrum. Though this disorder lacks quantitative research to support the findings.
- Asperger’s syndrome is considered to be a disorder where the symptoms can be channelized and a person can lead a normal life with few difficulties.
Test for Diagnosis:
- Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS)
- Gilliam Autism Rating Scale (GADS)
- Asperger’s Syndrome Diagnostic Scales (ASDS)
- Autism Spectrum Rating Scale (ASRS)
- Social Responsiveness Scale
- Ritvo Autism Asperger’s Diagnostic Scale (RAADS)
- Asperger’s Quotient Test (AQT)
1 Cognitive Behavior Therapy
The therapist can help a person channelize his energy and develop his/her interest. Also help with social skills so that engaging into social behavior and understanding others feelings would help them to cope with their patterns and behavior. This also helps in reducing the anxiety in them, thus reducing other co-morbid tendency in the person.
2 Art Based Therapy
AS population usually has high rate of interest in music, painting, drawing etc. Enhancing this domain can help them with various aspects helping them to balance the life.
- Speech Therapy
Speech therapist can give specific intervention plan to regulate stammering, stuttering and also increasing confidence.
4 Occupational Therapy
Physical exercises and stimulations to enhance the behavior, reduce harmful patterns and increasing the working mechanism of the person. An occupational therapist has an expertise to work with ASD population and can form program and sessions, also home interventions for the children.
Following Fiction Characters are said to have Asperger’s Syndrome:
- Sheldon Cooper from The BIG BANG THEORY
- Walter O’Brien from SCORPION
- Jerry Espenson from BOSTON LEGAL
Following real life people Diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome:
- Greta Thunberg, Environmentalist.