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Asperger syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder. Children with the condition want to know everything about their topic of interest, and their conversations with others will be about little else. Other characteristics include problems with nonverbal communication, clumsy and uncoordinated motor movements, and the inability to interact successfully with peers. Treatment involves social skills training, cognitive behavioral therapy, medication for coexisting conditions, and other measures.
What Is Asperger?Asperger syndrome ("Asperger") is a developmental disorder. It is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), one of a distinct group of neurological conditions characterized by a greater or lesser degree of impairment in language and communication skills, as well as repetitive or restrictive patterns of thought and behavior.
Other autism spectrum disorders include:
- Rett syndrome
- Classic autism
- Childhood disintegrative disorder
- Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (usually referred to as PDD-NOS).
Children with Asperger retain their early language skills, unlike children with autism.
(Click Causes of Asperger Syndrome for more information.)
What Are the Symptoms?The most distinguishing symptom of Asperger is a child's obsessive interest in a single object or topic to the exclusion of any other. Children with this condition want to know everything about their topic of interest, and their conversations with others will be about little else.
Children with Asperger often display expertise, a high level of vocabulary, and formal speech patterns that make them seem like little professors. Other characteristics include:
- Repetitive routines or rituals
- Problems with nonverbal communication
- Peculiarities in speech and language
- Clumsy and uncoordinated motor movements
- Socially and emotionally inappropriate behavior and the inability to interact successfully with peers.
Children with Asperger are often isolated because of their poor social skills and narrow interests. They often make normal conversation impossible by inappropriate or eccentric behavior, or by wanting only to talk about their singular interest. These children usually have a history of developmental delays in motor skills, such as pedaling a bike, catching a ball, or climbing outdoor play equipment. They are often awkward and poorly coordinated.
(Click Asperger Symptoms for more information.)