As there are no specific genetic or biological markers indicative of a person being afflicted with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Aspergers diagnosis is as a matter of necessity based on behavior. The Autism Spectrum Disorder (“ASD”) is used to describe a series of related disorders which can include Aspergers disease, autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (“PDD-NOS”) and is often displayed in conjunction with ADHD.
For those looking to identify Aspergers symptoms as a precursor to Aspergers diagnosis, there are three main areas of difficulty which are common to people with Aspergers. These are:
1.Impairment in social interaction
2.Impairment in communication
3.Restricted and/or repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests and activities
Not all sufferers will display each Aspergers symptoms and the severity and presence of each symptom may vary. However, Aspergers typically manifests in childhood, with onset and diagnosis being possible from approximately 3 years and over.
Social Interaction Impairment
Whilst Aspergers symptoms can be varied, they frequently include marked difficulties with nonverval behavior such as interpreting body language, eye contact, understanding or utilising appropriate facial expression, and other cues commonly associated with regulating social expression. Frequently this type of Aspergers symptom will impact upon a persons capacity to form relationships within their peer group, and can be accompanied by an apparent lack of social empathy or an inability to see the perspectives of others. In children, this extends beyond age appropriate egocentricity.
Difficulties With Communication
Delayed development of linguistic abilities when accompanied with an inability to adopt an alternative strategy to communicate is one of the recognised Aspergers Symptoms. Whilst language development may appear normal, people with Aspergers will often utilize repetative speech patterns, and be delivered with an absence of varying tone or pitch.
Restricted Behavior, Interests & Activities
When considering whether an Aspergers diagnosis may be needed, one of the symptoms to be aware of is when an intense interest in one specific type of activity is prevalent. Such interests may be diverse, but tend towards a focus on a part rather than a whole. For example, it may be a fascination with spinning a wheel on a toy truck, or a pre-occupation with something as seemingly mundane as a fan motor. What is significant is that the interest consumes an unusual quantity of time and focus.
Similarly, two other Aspergers Symptoms are an inflexibility in changes in routine, and the associated distress with any such changes. When anxious, people with Aspergers disorder may be prone to repetative mannerisms which are indicative of hightened stress levels, such as finger flicking or hand motions.
Other Behavior Symptomatic Of Aspergers
In addition to the Asperger’s syndrome symptoms above, many professionals will include other behavior as part of their Aspergers diagnostic criterea. A hightened respose to sensory stimuli, latent gross motor skills, sleep disturbances and high pain tolerance are just some of the additional factors which may be attributable to a positive Aspergers diagnosis.
If you are concerned that a loved one or child may be suffering from Aspergers syndrome, there is a large body of information available to assist in taking the first positive steps towards diagnosis and management. Whilst the precise cause of Aspergers is not yet known, there are established methods of treatment, and early diagnosis of asperger’s syndrome in children can be instrumental in minimizing the impact Aspergers may have on the sufferer.