Monday, June 18, 2012

Asperger Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

The Asperger's Syndrome was named after a Viennese pediatrician, Hans Asperger. In 1944, he explained the reason behind inefficiency in social behavior but normal intelligence in his male patients. This is a neurological disorder in which the person suffering shows a number of typical characteristics like odd patterns in speech, obsessions, poor coordination, inefficiency in social interaction and several other peculiar behaviors. The children who suffer from this disorder find it difficult to differentiate the various body languages and are able to show only a few facial expressions. They may be obsessive about their routines and may be unusually sensitive to some sensory stimuli.
It was noted by Asperger that though the males suffering from this condition show normal language development and intelligence, they find it hard to effectively communicate their ideas. They may have problems with paying attention for longer spans and they are also known to have a behavior that others find odd or eccentric. These conditions do not go away with age and an adult who has this condition shows the same symptoms. However, despite Asperger's Syndrome being a lifetime condition, if it is diagnosed at an early stage and proper services are provided, there is a chance that the symptoms may reduce with time.
Causes: Though there is no specific cause known for the condition, it is generally suggested that it is genetic, possibly running through generations in a family. Also, it is thought that some fetal development problems might cause this condition considering the differences in structure and function of specific parts of the brain. Some researches showed that the condition might be associated with depression, bipolar disorder and other mental disorders. There is a wrong idea that the condition is caused due to bad parenting. However, Asperger's syndrome is a neurological disorder and does not depend on the upbringing of the child.
Symptoms: In most cases, Asperger's syndrome is diagnosed in children in the age of 5-9 years. It might be difficult to differentiate the symptoms from troubles in behavior and this is why they can be evaluated only by professionals in many cases. The diagnosis of this condition is often confused with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder or ADHD.
Treatment: There is neither a cure not an effective medical treatment for Asperger's Syndrome. There can be treatment for some symptoms like depression which are associated with the condition. The main treatment for this condition is training as in the case of Autism. Training for modification in behavior and social skills has found to be effective. Training may also be provided for decision making, problem solving and other skills.
The condition does not mean that a person suffering from it will not be able to succeed socially and academically. In fact, there are many people suffering from the Asperger's syndrome who believe that this condition is more of a "difference" and not a "disorder". There are people with this condition who are leading a full and happy life through proper education and support.
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