Asperger syndrome overview

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

Overview

Asperger syndrome is the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in which there is no general delay in language or cognitive development. As in other ASDs, people with AS have difficulties in social interaction and restricted,stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities. Although not mentioned in standard diagnostic criteria for AS, physical clumsiness and atypical use of language are frequently reported. There is no single treatment for Asperger's syndrome, and the effectiveness of particular interventions is supported by only limited data. Intervention is aimed at improving symptoms and function. The mainstay of management is behavioral therapy, focusing on specific deficits to address poor communication skills, obsessive or repetitive routines, and physical clumsiness. Most individuals with AS can learn to cope with their differences, but may continue to need moral support and encouragement to maintain an independent life.[1] Researchers and people with AS have advocated a shift in attitudes toward the view that AS is a difference, rather than a disability that must be treated or cured.

Historical Perspective

The history of Asperger syndrome (AS), an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is brief; Asperger syndrome is a relatively new diagnosis in the field of autism,[2] named in honor of Hans Asperger (1906–80), an Austrian psychiatrist and pediatrician. An English psychiatrist, Lorna Wing, popularized the term "Asperger's syndrome" in a 1981 publication; the first book in English on Asperger syndrome was written by Uta Frith in 1991 and the condition was subsequently recognized in formal diagnostic manuals later in the 1990s.[2]

History and Symptoms

A pervasive developmental disorder, Asperger's syndrome is distinguished by a pattern of symptoms rather than a single symptom. It is characterized by qualitative impairment in social interaction, by stereotyped and restricted patterns of behavior, activities and interests, and by no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or general delay in language.[3] Intense preoccupation with a narrow subject, one-sided verbosity, restricted prosody, and physical clumsiness are typical of the condition, but are not required for diagnosis.[4]

Behavioral Therapy

Asperger syndrome treatment attempts to manage distressing symptoms and to teach age-appropriate social, communication and vocational skills that are not naturally acquired during development, with intervention tailored to the needs of the individual child, based on multidisciplinary assessment.[5] Although progress has been made, data supporting the efficacy of particular interventions are limited.[6]

References

  1. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) (2007-07-31). "Asperger syndrome fact sheet". Retrieved 2007-08-24. NIH Publication No. 05-5624.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Baron-Cohen S, Klin A (2006). "What's so special about Asperger Syndrome?" (PDF). Brain and cognition. 61 (1): 1–4. doi:10.1016/j.bandc.2006.02.002. PMID 16563588.
  3. American Psychiatric Association (2000). "Diagnostic criteria for 299.80 Asperger's Disorder (AD)". Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed., text revision (DSM-IV-TR) ed.). ISBN 0-89042-025-4. Retrieved 2007-06-28.
  4. Klin A (2006). "Autism and Asperger syndrome: an overview". Rev Bras Psiquiatr. 28 (suppl 1): S3–S11. doi:10.1590/S1516-44462006000500002. PMID 16791390.
  5. Khouzam HR, El-Gabalawi F, Pirwani N, Priest F (2004). "Asperger's disorder: a review of its diagnosis and treatment". Compr Psychiatry. 45 (3): 184–91. doi:10.1016/j.comppsych.2004.02.004. PMID 15124148.
  6. Attwood T (2003). "Frameworks for behavioral interventions". Child Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 12 (1): 65–86. doi:10.1016/S1056-4993(02)00054-8. PMID 12512399.




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