is Aspergerís Syndrome? Aspergerís Syndrome, also known as
Aspergerís Disorder or Autistic Psychopathy, is a Pervasive
Developmental Disorder (PDD) characterized by severe and sustained
impairment in social interaction, development of restricted and
repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, and activities. These
characteristics result in clinically significant impairment in social,
occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
contrast to Autistic disorder (Autism), there are no clinically
significant delays in language or cognition or self help skills or in
adaptive behavior, other than social interaction. Prevalence is limited
but it appears to be more common in males. Onset is later than what is
seen in Autism, or at least recognized later. Motor delays, clumsiness,
social interaction problems, and idiosyncratic behaviors are reported.
Adults with Aspergerís have trouble with empathy and modulation of
social interaction - the disorder follows a continuous course and is
usually lifelong. Aspergers is not easily recognizable - in fact, many
children are misdiagnosed with other PDDís such as Touretteís
Syndrome, or, more seriously, with Autism and/or Attention Deficit (and
Hyperactivity) Disorder (ADD & ADHD).
it is so new and so difficult to diagnose, our society is ill-equipped
to deal with the special educational needs of children afflicted with
Disorder is a milder variant of Autistic Disorder. Both Aspergerís
Disorder and Autistic Disorder are in fact subgroups of a larger
diagnostic category. This larger category is called either Autistic
Spectrum Disorders or Pervasive Developmental Disorders. In Aspergerís
Disorder, affected individuals are characterized by social isolation and
eccentric behavior in childhood. There are impairments in two-sided
social interaction and non-verbal communication. Though grammatical,
their speech is peculiar due to abnormalities of inflection and a
repetitive pattern. Clumsiness is prominent both in their articulation
and gross motor behavior. They usually have a circumscribed area of
interest which usually leaves no space for more age appropriate, common
interests. Some examples are cars, trains, French Literature, door
knobs, hinges, cappucino, meteorology, astronomy or history.
is the epidemiology of Aspergerís Disorder? In a total population
study of children between ages 7-16 in Goteborg, Sweden minimum
prevalence of Aspergerís Disorder was 0.36 % (0.55 % of all boys, and
0.15 % of all girls), and male/female ratio was 4:1. In another total
population study, prevalence of Autistic Disorder was 0.024 % in Canada.
are the differences between Aspergerís Disorder and ĎHigh
Functioningí(i.e. IQ > 70) Autism?
It is believed that in Aspergerís Disorder:
IS THE BIOLOGY OF ASPERGER'S DISORDER?
the now widely accepted fact that biological factors are of crucial
importance in the etiology of autism, so far the brain imaging studies
have shown no consistent pattern, no consistent evidence of any type of
lesion, and no single location of any lesion in subjects with autistic
symptoms. This inconsistency in the results of various brain imaging
studies has been attributed to the fact that people with autism
represent a highly heterogeneous group in terms of underlying pathology.
Therefore there is an ongoing effort to specify more homogenous
subgroups among autistic individuals to enhance the accuracy of
etiologic inquiry. This approach has been supported with the inclusion
of the diagnosis ĎAspergerís Disorderí in the Fourth Edition of
the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) of
the American Psychiatric Association.
medical conditions such as fragile-X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis,
neurofibromatosis, and hypothyroidism are less common in Aspergerís
Disorder than in classical autism. Therefore it may be expected that
there are fewer major structural brain abnormalities associated with
Aspergerís Disorder than with autism. To our knowledge, a very small
number of structural brain abnormalities have been so far associated
with Aspergerís Disorder, which include left frontal macrogyria,
bilateral opercular polymicrogyria, and left temporal lobe damage. On
the other hand brain imaging techniques like positron emission
tomography (PET), and single photon emission tomography (SPECT) which
provide information about the functional status of brain may be more
helpful in determining the brain dysfunction in individuals with
Aspergerís Disorder. Detailed neuropsychological testing may support
these findings providing information about the performances of
individual right or left hemispheric brain regions. The first SPECT
study in a patient with Aspergerís Disorder was published by the host
of this page and his colleagues, and found left parietooccipital
of research in Aspergerís Disorder with various brain imaging
techniques in coordination with neuropsychological evaluation in larger
samples is clearly needed in this area.
IS THE DIAGNOSTIC CRITERIA OF
DSM-IV DIAGNOSTIC CRITERIA FOR ASPERGERíS DISORDER A. Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:
B. Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:
The disturbance causes clinically significant impairment in social,
occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
There is no clinically significant general delay in language (e.g.,
single words used by age 2 years, communicative phrases used by age 3
There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in
the development of age-appropriate self-help skills, adaptive behavior
(other than in social interaction), and curiosity about the environment
Criteria are not met for another specific Pervasive Developmental
Disorder or Schizophrenia.
CRITERIA FOR ASPERGERíS DISORDER
IS THE TREATMENT FOR
There is no specific treatment or ďcureĒ for Aspergerís Disorder. All the interventions outlined below are mainly symptomatic and/or rehabilitational. Psychosocial Interventions.