Understanding Asperger’s Syndrome

Boy Sitting AloneWhen a pediatric neurologist or other medical specialist suspects your child has Asperger’s syndrome (AS), they will be able to offer you more information about the condition along with a diagnosis and treatment plan. However, it’s always a good idea to know the basics first.

What Is Asperger’s Syndrome?

AS is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), conditions characterized by impairment in communication skills, along with repetitive or restrictive patterns of thought and behavior. It’s a neurological condition that affects a child’s brain and nervous system.

Despite often having highly-developed language skills, children with AS typically struggle with the physical act of speaking. Non-verbal communication through facial movements and gestures is typically very difficult for a child with AS. Asperger’s syndrome can also cause a child to have a lack of coordination or appear clumsy.

Other conditions such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder or Tourette syndrome also commonly coexist with AS.

What Are Common Symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome?

The primary distinguishing symptom of AS is a child’s fixation with a specific subject or topic. While many children have favorite subjects, a child with AS will focus on it to the exclusion of everything else.

The topic dominates all their conversations, and they often become quite an expert. However, conversations about the subject will consist mainly of random facts, with no point or conclusion.

The speech of a child with AS is usually characterized by odd rhythms and inflections, speaking in monotone or difficulty in lowering or raising their voice to match an environment. Their speech may often seem robotic.

Developmental delays for important milestones such as walking or running are often present in the child’s history. You or your pediatric neurologist may notice the walk of your child may appear stilted, and they may appear to have poor coordination.