Asperger Syndrome Diagnosis

Asperger Syndrome is an autistic disorder named after Hans Asperger a child psychiatrist from Austria.

According to Tony Attwood , a specialist in the field of Asperger Syndrome, the average age in which children are diagnosed with Asperger, is eight years old. This average number means that some people get a diagnosis later on in life, as adults and others might get it in early childhood. The Asperger Syndrome diagnosis appears to be given later in life than diagnosis of other autistic disorders.
For parents finding our your child has Asperger Syndrome can be a shock. Read my personal story on what happend to me after I got the diagnosis off my oldest son.



Signs & Symptoms


Aspergers is a mild form of autism that can be easily overlooked in young children. The signs and symptoms are not always that clear to parents and teachers and may become more obvious when the child gets older.

A lot of research has been done into the typical criteria for Asperger Syndrome. Which signs or what typical behavior do you need to see in order to get a diagnosis for Asperger Syndrome? The list of criteria according to Szatmari and his colleagues is worth looking at because it gives a complete picture of the behavior children with Asperger Syndrome can display.

Up till now there is no consensus or agreement on which diagnostic criteria will define the Asperger Syndrome in total. There are several lists of criteria researchers can choose from. Apart from the list made by Szatmari as mentioned above, there is another list circulating which also gives a clear picture of what to look for in a child’s behavior. For those criteria go to the criteria list according to Gillberg


Importance

The importance of getting a diagnosis can not be emphasized enough. If it's unknown what causes the child or adult to behave so strangely you can never get them the help they need and are entitled to. And they do need help!

Their behavior can be so off tune and be offensive towards people without them even realizing it. They don’t mean to hurt anybody with their remarks but simply can not grasp the fact that their remarks might be painful or rude. This is caused by their lack of imagination which makes it hard for them to show empathy towards others.

The most important book used to diagnose autism is: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the DSM-IV. This book sees Asperger syndrome as a separate category.

The following list shows there is a specific combination of behavioural indicators which are used by professionals to diagnose autistic disorders such as Asperger syndrome:

1. Qualitative impairment in social interaction

2. The presence of restricted, repetitive and stereotyped behaviours and interests

3. Significant impairment in important areas of functioning

4. No significant delay in language

5. No significant delay in cognitive development, self- help skills, or adaptive behavior (other than social interaction)

6. The symptoms must not be better accounted for by another specific pervasive developmental disorder or schizophrenia.

The DSM IV handbook has his own list of diagnostic criteria and so does the World Health Organization (WHO).


What is considered normal?

People with Aspergers see the world from a different point of view. They think “normal” people speak in riddles. Why don’t they say what they mean? How come they are not interested in details like me? Why are relationships so complicated? Why use non verbal signs like body language instead of just telling something like it is!

Individuals with Asperger syndrome think their world is more logical then ours. The majority of people however thinks differently so that majority is considered normal. People with autism have to adjust to our “strange” way of relating to each other and our ways of communication. It’s very hard for them to adjust to something so far off from logic. Most of the time they are truly unable to do so.

The people around them need to understand and relate to their different way of thinking. In order to be able to do that, a diagnosis is important. If you don’t know what is wrong how can you help or reach out?



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