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Asperger's Disorder

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Asperger's Disorder was first described 60 years ago by an Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger. Hans work drew little interest until Lorna Wing published a similar description for the English speaking population, which inspired much interest and research to define the diagnosis of Asperger's Disorder.

Despite disagreements, Aspergers has become a common diagnosis over the past 10 years. Aspergers is now used to describe what used to be called "high functioning autism". Uninformed "experts" often apply the label to anyone who is socially awkward, has difficulty reading social cues, or is aloof in social situations. There is a tendency to leap to the diagnosis of Asperger's Disorder for people who have difficulty reading and responding to social cues. Asperger's Disorder is a significantly weakening condition for those affected by it, and is not an appropriate label for those who are simply awkward, eccentric, or uncomfortable in social settings.

There are many different symptoms of Asperger's Disorder, some still being studied. Some of these include: socially and emotionally inappropriate behavior, limited interests or preoccupation with a subject, repetitive behaviors or rituals - can become quite anxious and upset if routines change, peculiarities in speech and language, sensitivity to loud noises, problems with nonverbal communication - interpreting body language, lack of empathy, clumsy and uncoordinated motor movements, inflexibility or rigid thinking, above average intelligence - achieving IQ scores in excess of 140, specialized fields of interest or hobbies.

Most people with autism characteristically show major handicaps in intellect and their ability to think and learn, people with Asperger's Disorder typically do not have such problems. Although these people often show unevenness in their abilities, they may score quite highly on intelligence or achievement tests, and doing especially well on verbal tasks and tests, relying heavily on memory for these tasks. Structured academic course work the emphasizes on memory skills will play to their strengths, especially when modifications are made that address their limitations. If the child is identified as gifted, they may also receive special accommodation, such as more individual instruction, which can help them perform well.

As with autism, people with Asperger's Disorder have extreme difficulties with interpersonal relations, they lack empathy and the ability to read and interpret social cues. They strongly prefer routine and structure, and they are usually fascinated with rituals, sometimes to the point of obsession, which can also affect interpersonal relationships.

Most Asperger's Disorder children have a strong fascination to something for a period of time and then the fascination will switch to something else. These obsessions may seem odd, even weird



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