Question

Asperger's Syndrome

What are the symptoms of Asperger's syndrome?

A Answers (3)

  • The most distinguishing symptom of Asperger syndrome (AS) is a child's obsessive interest in a single object or topic to the exclusion of any other. Children with AS have become experts on vacuum cleaners, makes and models of cars, and even objects as odd as deep fat fryers. Children with AS want to know everything about their topic of interest and their conversations with others are limited to this topic. Their expertise, high level of vocabulary, and formal speech patterns make them seem like little professors.

    Children with AS will gather enormous factual information about their favorite subject and talk incessantly about it. However, the conversation may appear as a random collection of facts or statistics, with no point or conclusion.

    Their speech may be marked by a lack of rhythm, an odd inflection, or a monotone pitch. For example, they will have to be reminded to talk softly every time they enter a library or a movie theatre.

    Unlike the severe withdrawal from the rest of the world that is characteristic of autism, children with AS are isolated because of their poor social skills and narrow interests. In fact, they may approach other people, but make normal conversation impossible by inappropriate or eccentric behavior, or by wanting only to talk about their singular interest.

    Children with AS usually have a history of developmental delays in motor skills, such as pedaling a bike, catching a ball, or climbing outdoor play equipment. They are often awkward and poorly coordinated with a walk that can appear either stilted or bouncy.

    Many children with AS are highly active in early childhood, and then develop anxiety or depression in young adulthood.

    This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

  • A classic symptom of Asperger's syndrome is an intense focus on a single subject -- being obsessed with details and becoming an expert on that subject.

    Other symptoms of Asperger's syndrome may include:
    • Repetitive rituals or routines
    • Motor skill problems, such as clumsy movements or being late in developing certain skills
    • Problems with social skills
    • Being highly sensitive to sensory information, such as light, sound, texture, and taste
  • Behavior: People with Asperger syndrome display behavior, interests, and activities that are restricted and repetitive and may be abnormally intense or focused. Patients typically develop specific routines or rituals and become highly disturbed if their schedules are even slightly changed. Patients may develop very specific interests, such as calendar dates or numbers. Children with Asperger syndrome may become proficient in knowing categories of information, such as baseball statistics or Latin names of flowers. While they are able to memorize things, they have difficulty with abstract concepts. Although these special interests may change from time to time, they typically become more unusual and narrowly focused.

    Children with Asperger syndrome want to know everything about their specific topic of interest. Their conversations with others will be about little else and may bore the listener without reaching a logical conclusion. Their expertise, high level of vocabulary, and formal speech patterns make them seem like "little professors."

    Intelligence: Most people with Asperger syndrome possess average to above average intelligence. Some people with Asperger syndrome may be considered savants and have exceptional skills, such as in math or art. They may have problems with reading or writing skills but an obsession with complex topics such as patterns or music.

    Neurological function: Children with Asperger syndrome frequently have motor skill delays and may appear clumsy or awkward. They may have poor coordination and may have a stilted or bouncy walk. Many people with Asperger syndrome are highly active in early childhood and then develop anxiety or depression in young adulthood. Asperger syndrome patients often have excellent auditory and visual perception. They may have problems with awareness of body position, balance, walking posture, and finger-thumb apposition. They may not be able to describe their own emotions and may be unusually sensitive to sound, light, touch, texture, taste, smell, pain, temperature, and other stimuli.

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