What is Asperger’s Syndrome?

Asperger’s Syndrome was first identified by Hans Asperger in 1944. That’s where the name of the syndrome comes from. Asperger’s syndrome is one of the neurodevelopmental disorders in the autism spectrum disorder group. Although it is an innate disorder, it covers complex neurodevelopmental disorders that occur in the first 3-4 years of life. Autism is the mildest of spectrum disorders.

Asperger’s Syndrome was included in the category of common developmental disorders in the fourth edition of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) used by experts as a diagnostic measure between 2000 and 2013. All common developmental disorders, including Asperger’s Syndrome, have been renamed Autism Spectrum Disorder (OSB) along with DSM-V, the last edition of DSM published on May 18, 2013. Spectrum literally means diversity. Spectrum is a kind of spectrum. Autism Spectrum Disorder is called spectrum because the symptoms encountered in autism appear in different ways and at different levels in each child. For this reason, Asperger’s Syndrome can also be known as high-functioning autism.

Differences with Autism

Autism occurs in the first 3 years of life. In children with Asperger’s, symptoms begin to become apparent between the ages of 4 and 11.
Individuals with asperger’s are separated from individuals with autism at the point of language development. The language and cognitive development of children with Asperger’s syndrome is normal.
Children with Asperger’s syndrome are especially talkative when it comes to their interests compared to individuals with autism.
Children with autism are unaware of the social dissonance they experience.
Asperger’s syndrome is distinguished from other forms of autism in terms of verbal language skills and abilities (such as music and visual memory).
Children with Asperger’s have normal intelligence and even high levels in most cases, but children with autism may have mental retardation.

What are the Causes of Asperger’s Syndrome?

Asperger’s Syndrome is a genetically based neurological disorder. The exact cause has not been determined. However, there are indications that it is caused by problems in the structure and functioning of the brain and nervous system. According to a 2014 study by Özdemir, genetic factors, damage to the brain (such as problems during pregnancy or childbirth), family or child exposure to toxic chemicals are considered among these reasons. Since the causes of Asperger’s Syndrome are not fully known, there is no medical treatment and therefore it is not possible to take precautions in advance.

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The idea that parents (primary caregivers) are negligent in the care of the child is not true when it comes to the cause of Autism Spectrum Disorders. The negligence of the parents cannot be a cause of OSB. However, parental neglect is effective in increasing the number and intensity of symptoms in individuals diagnosed with OSB. For this reason, it is extremely important for the child’s development that primary caregivers provide a qualified care environment for the child.

Symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome

  • Lack of social awareness
  • Lack of interest in socializing/making friends
  • Difficulty making or maintaining friendships
  • Not being able to empathize
  • Be afraid to make eye contact or look very carefully
  • Lack of facial expressions and gestures or the use of exaggerated gestures
  • Not understanding body language
  • Disobeying personal boundaries
  • Hypersensitization to sounds, smells, tastes or visual stimuli
  • Excessive commitment to routine
  • Repeated motor behaviors such as clapping hands, waving, shaking
  • Obsessive attention to just a few subjects
  • Not understanding metaphorically spoken sentences
  • Difficulty adjusting tone
How to Diagnose?

Symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome begin in infancy. However, since there is no problem in language development, differences are difficult to identify and therefore difficult to diagnose early. Symptoms are more pronounced between the ages of 4 and 11. There is no test that can directly detect Asperger’s syndrome. According to the situation and symptoms, physical diseases are investigated first. When there is no physical problem, the child is referred to a specialist. At this point, if the child goes to school, teacher observations are very important. Experts apply the appropriate tests based on the information they receive from the family and the teacher. With the help of these tests, we look at the child’s social and emotional abilities, communication, learning and movement skills, as well as special interests.

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Asperger’s Syndrome Treatment

Early diagnosis and treatment ensures the positive development of diagnosed individuals. It facilitates the adaptation of the individual to society. Each individual shows different characteristics. Therefore, it is best to plan individual applications in cooperation with experts.
There is no single treatment method and the therapies to be applied continue for life. Therapies are applied to improve the symptoms seen according to the needs of the child. Social cognition awareness training, speech and language therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and physical therapy are the therapies that can be applied. In addition to the therapies applied, families can be psychotrained to help the family cope with difficulties in this process.

There are many individuals who can accept the existence of Asperger’s syndrome and achieve professional success. Features such as the ability to focus on details, to specialize in interests, to work independently have a very important function at this point. Individuals with Asperger’s syndrome learn to cope with their symptoms, even if they have difficulty in relationships and social situations. They can live with support or independently.
Each diagnosed individual has different characteristics. For this reason, it is best to plan individual applications in cooperation with experts.

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