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How is Asperger's syndrome treated?

The ideal treatment for Asperger syndrome (AS) coordinates therapies that address the three core symptoms of the disorder: poor communication skills, obsessive or repetitive routines, and physical clumsiness. There is no single best treatment package for children with AS, but most professionals agree that the earlier the intervention, the better.

An effective treatment program builds on the child's interests, offers a predictable schedule, teaches tasks as a series of simple steps, actively engages the child's attention in highly structured activities, and provides regular reinforcement of behavior. This kind of program generally includes:

Social skills training, a form of group therapy that teaches children the skills they need to interact more successfully with other children. Cognitive behavioral therapy, a type of "talk" therapy that can help the more explosive or anxious children to manage their emotions better and cut back on obsessive interests and repetitive routines Medication, for co-existing conditions such as depression and anxiety Occupational or physical therapy, for children with sensory integration problems or poor motor coordination Specialized speech/language therapy, to help children who have trouble with the pragmatics of speech - the give and take of normal conversation. Parent training and support, to teach parents behavioral techniques to use at home.

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

*Asperger syndrome, or Asperger's, is a term that is no longer used as a formal diagnosis. In current diagnostic criteria, the syndrome is included under the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders.

No two people with Asperger syndrome are identical. Treatment and educational interventions should be individualized to suit the needs of the person. Supports and interventions may include:

  • Teaching skills and concepts in naturally occurring situations and across settings to maximize generalization.
  • Providing a predictable environment with consistent daily routines and minimal transitions.
  • Role playing social situations in which the individual with AS is taught how to react to social cues.
  • Teaching social awareness, taking the perspective of another, and interpretations of non-literal language.
  • Teaching appropriate nonverbal behaviors such as eye contact, gestures, proximity to others and correct posture.
  • Instruction on reading the nonverbal communications of others (e.g., facial expression, body language).
  • Restricting the discussion of the individual’s special topic to specific times and/or places.
  • Creating a buddy system in which a peer can help with instructional directions by the teacher, remembering homework assignments and staying on task. Buddies may also facilitate active socialization with others.

Source: Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (CARD)

*Asperger syndrome, or Asperger's, is a term that is no longer used as a formal diagnosis. In current diagnostic criteria, the syndrome is included under the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.