What Services Can Help People With Aspergers
Behavioral interventions that address specific behaviors and identify triggers for them are often helpful. Interventions that teach both children and their families effective communication strategies are also effective.
Planning for adolescence and the transition to adulthood is also important. Finding medical and behavioral health services, job skills development, community opportunities, and residential supports can make an important difference for people with autism and their families.
What Is A Savant
Savant syndrome is the name for a rare but extraordinary condition in which someone with a mental impairment, often a form of autism, also displays a spectacular capacity or skillset. For example, a child who has autism and is nonverbal may be able to rapidly complete a jigsaw puzzle placed in front of him picture side down just by looking at the shapes of, say, 200 pieces, the child can quickly put the puzzle together. Its estimated that around 10 percent of people with autism are savants, so its still the exception, rather than the rule, in the autism community.
Boys Are At Higher Risk For Aspergers Than Girls
Boys are about four times more likely to develop an autism spectrum disorder, and according to some studies, up to 11 times more likely to develop Aspergers syndrome compared with girls.
Researchers arent sure exactly why boys are at a higher risk. Studies have suggested links between male fetal testosterone levels and autism spectrum disorders.
Some experts have also proposed theories that girls are simply underdiagnosed or that they are better protected genetically.
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How Is Aspergers Treated In Adults
Theres no cure for Aspergers syndrome. However, these treatments may help autistic adults cope with symptoms and difficulties.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy. A therapist can help you cope with some of the emotional effects of autism, such as social isolation and anxiety. They can also help you learn new social skills so engaging with others feels easier and less frustrating.
- Speech therapy. A speech pathologist can work with you to learn voice control and modulation.
- Vocational therapy. Most autistic adults can and do maintain full-time, successful jobs. However, some people may face career-related difficulties. A vocational therapist can help you find solutions for the issues you face at work so that you can continue to be successful.
- Medications. In adulthood, prescription drugs may be used to treat individual symptoms, such as anxiety or hyperactivity. Some healthcare providers may also prescribe medications to try to reduce symptoms of AS. These medications include stimulants, antipsychotics, and serotonin reuptake inhibitors .
Adults with Aspergers syndrome may experience symptoms such as:
- awkward social interactions
Abstract: Over The Past Decade There Has Been A Growing Interest In Adults On The Autistic Spectrum And More Recently The Challenges Related To Aging In This Population A Two
Comparison of behaviors characteristic of autism spectrum disorder behaviors and behavioral and psychiatric symptoms of dementia
Elizabeth K. Rhodus, Justin Barber, Erin L. Abner, Shoshana H. Bardach, Allison Gibson & Gregory A. Jicha
Aging and Mental Health, 2020, Nov 23 1-9.
Hyperplasticity in Autism Spectrum Disorder confers protection from Alzheimers disease
Lindsay M.Oberman & AlvaroPascual-Leone
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Diagnosis Of Asperger Syndrome
If you are concerned that you or your child may show signs of Asperger syndrome, it may help to discuss these with a GP. There is no cure for the condition, but having a diagnosis confirmed can help you get the right support going forwards. It may also help you understand any difficulties you or your child have, and find solutions.
The process of Asperger syndrome diagnosis can take some time and be quite tricky. It will often involve a range of healthcare professionals, your GP, school teachers, speech and language therapists and occupational therapists, who will assess your child and write a report about what they have found. The National Autistic Society provides a booklet on what to do after diagnosis.
Did you know
Diagnostic Criteria For Aspergers Syndrome
Heres a brief summary of the from the previous version of the DSM :
- having difficulty with verbal or nonverbal communication, such as eye contact or sarcasm
- having few or no long-term social relationships with peers
- lack of interest in taking part in activities or interests with others
- showing little to no response to social or emotional experiences
- having a sustained interest in a single special topic or very few topics
- strict adherence to routine or ritual behaviors
- repetitive behaviors or movements
- intense interest in specific aspects of objects
- experiencing difficulty in maintaining relationships, jobs, or other aspects of daily life because of these previously listed signs
- not having any delay in language learning or cognitive development typical of other, similar neurodevelopmental conditions
As of 2013, Aspergers is now considered part of the autism spectrum and is no longer diagnosed as a separate condition.
Additional Resources For Characteristics Of A Person With Aspergers Syndrome
For those with further interest in Aspergers, there are a number of great, online resources with which followup is highly suggested. The following represent some of those very contacts.
The National Institutes of Healths National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke offers the US governments public resources and stance on Aspergers and autism today. From treatment information to organizational links, clinical trial info, and more, this government resource is a virtual one-stop-shop.
Aspergers has gone through an evolution in the way its viewed, treated, and studied in recent times. Those with this condition, however, have always displayed many of the same types of characteristics throughout time. These 10 characteristics are among some of the most commonly seen in those with Aspergers syndrome, no matter how the science itself evolves.
Do You Have Aspergers
Perhaps you are a spouse wondering if your partner has Aspergers, a friend, acquaintance or colleague of someone you suspect has it, or perhaps you wonder if you might have it yourself. How would you know?
In this chapter, I will explain how the process of diagnosing someone for Aspergers is usually carried out, both in general terms and the specific way I undertake a diagnosis. I will describe the types of information that is sought in an assessment for Aspergers and how that information is collected. I will answer the question of how accurate a diagnosis is, the confidence one can have in a diagnosis of Aspergers and I will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of having a diagnosis.
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Caring For Someone Affected By Aspergers Syndrome
The world is often an overwhelming place for someone living with Aspergers syndrome. Anxiety in children and adults with autism can be very high and it is important to find ways to manage it. It can be beneficial to have some strategies in place, such as planning any changes to routines ahead of time or listening to calm music.
Articles On Autism Types
When you meet someone who has Asperger’s syndrome, you might notice two things right off. They’re just as smart as other folks, but they have more trouble with social skills. They also tend to have an obsessive focus on one topic or perform the same behaviors again and again.
Doctors used to think of Asperger’s as a separate condition. But in 2013, the newest edition of the standard book that mental health experts use, called The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , changed how it’s classified.
Today, Asperger’s syndrome is technically no longer a diagnosis on its own. It is now part of a broader category called autism spectrum disorder . This group of related disorders shares some symptoms. Even so, lots of people still use the term Asperger’s.
The condition is what doctors call a “high-functioning” type of ASD. This means the symptoms are less severe than other kinds of autism spectrum disorders.
The DSM-5 also includes a new diagnosis, called social pragmatic communication disorder, which has some symptoms that overlap with Asperger’s. Doctors use it to describe people who have trouble talking and writing, but have normal intelligence.
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Aspergers Syndrome Vs High
Note: At the time of this article Aspergers was a separate diagnosis, however, it is no longer used and falls within the broader ASD diagnosis with a higher functioning level.
Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder and the fastest-growing developmental disability among children. Learning that your child has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder can be a shock, and it is overwhelming to parents who do not yet understand what the diagnosis will mean for their child and how they can help. Even more frustrating for some parents is that within ASD are two separate diagnoses that are often used interchangeably by medical professionals, despite key differences between them. Aspergers Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism are singular diagnoses with differences in language development, age of onset, and cognitive function.
The Likely Answer: Theres No Single Cause
While the exact cause of Aspergers isnt known, many experts believe the disorder is probably triggered by a variety of factors. A combination of genetic, neurological, and environmental issues might work together to cause the syndrome.
For example, certain genetic mutations may make a child more sensitive to chemicals or other environmental causes. Or genes might be the reason specific brain changes happen in someone with Aspergers.
Experts are working to find out just how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together.
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How Asperger Syndrome Is Diagnosed
The characteristics of Asperger syndrome vary from one person to another, although there are some key traits that autistic people share. These are:
- persistent difficulties with or differences in social communication and social interaction
- restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviours, activities or interests since early childhood, to the extent that these impact negatively on day to day life.
The diagnosis process usually involves a multi-disciplinary diagnostic team – often including a speech and language therapist, paediatrician, psychiatrist and/or psychologist.Because Asperger syndrome varies widely from person to person, making a diagnosis can be difficult. It is often diagnosed later in children than autism and sometimes symptoms may not be recognised and diagnosed until adulthood.
What Is Applied Behavior Analysis
One of the most well-studied behavioral therapies for autism is Applied Behavior Analysis . The basic premise of ABA is to break down skills into component parts and, through repetition and reinforcement, encourage learning. The approach relies on observing a situation and defining what would benefit a child, even when he or she may still be focused elsewhere. For example, if a child is not interested in greeting others, through ABA the clinician might choose to teach those skills anyway because they have long-term value. ABA is the typical starting point for children with more severe symptoms, but it can play a role for children with milder symptoms as well.
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Impact On Daily Living
Some children and adults with Asperger syndrome may experience difficulty with daily life such as:
Schoolwork some people find education difficult, due to classrooms being busy and overstimulating, teachers being unable to provide additional support, difficulty with learning new things and writing
Overstimulation too much noise, visual input or social pressure can cause a person to become overwhelmed
Feeling lonely, anxious or isolated some people find it difficult to connect and communicate with others which, combined with having a different understanding of the world, can lead to feeling anxious
They may feel as though they do not understand the world, and may find that other people around them do not understand them. There is a lack of understanding about Asperger syndrome and autism in general, and this may make it difficult for someone with the condition to be accepted.
People with Asperger syndrome do have a valuable contribution to make to the world though and many people believe that if society was more accommodating of people that are considered to be different then they would have a greater sense of wellbeing. Many of the behaviours that Asperger syndrome causes can actually be really positive, for example, the ability to focus on one particular topic, activity or hobby intently is not a bad thing and can lead to a person developing an excellent skill.
Products for Asperger syndromeFor someone who fidgets or finds it difficult to sit still
The Link Between Dementia And Learning Disabilities
The Danish National Social Agency, Socialstyrelsen, states that they do not yet know whether the incidence of dementia is higher or lower in people with autism or whether autistic people are more likely to develop Alzheimers as they age.
It is well documented that people with Downs syndrome are at a higher risk of early onset of dementia and that there is increased prevalence of dementia in learning disabled population. In the case of the autism spectrum however, there is hardly any research on how the autistic brain changes in adulthood.
This is further complicated by the fact that many of the factors that seem to influence cognitive decline among people with autism are not related to intellectual level, but to other factors linked to autism, including epilepsy, obesity, pain, falls, hypertension, diabetes, sedentary lifestyle as well as hearing and vision issues.
Thus, diagnosing the autistic with dementia is problematic because of the lack of ability to take standardized tests.
Preliminary findings of a research team with a grant from Autism Speaks indicate that following an increase during adolescence and young adulthood, people with autism tend to displace evidence of a decline in functional skills during midlife and beyond.
This pattern of decline is in sharp contrast to the upward slope and linear nature of the trajectory of functional skills during a similar period in adults with Down syndrome, where skills are maintained more successfully.
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Frontotemporal Dementia With Parkinsonism
One form of familial FTD, also known as frontotemporal dementia with Parkinsonism-17 , is caused by genetic changes in the gene for tau protein, located on chromosome 17. No other risk factors for this condition are known.
FTDP-17 is rare and accounts for only three per cent of all cases of dementia. Symptoms progressively get worse over time and usually appear between the ages of 40 and 60. The condition affects both thinking and behavioural skills and movements such as rigidity, lack of facial expression and problems with balance .
It can be distressing to be told that you have a genetic disorder or are at risk of having one. Genetic counselling provides the person and their family with information about a genetic disorder and its likely impact on their lives. This can assist a person with FTDP-17 to make informed medical and personal decisions about how to manage their condition and the challenges it presents to their health and wellbeing. Prenatal genetic counselling is also available for parents to help them decide about a pregnancy that may be at risk of FTDP-17.
Asperger’s Syndrome Essential Reads
Various autism and Asperger’s organizations are looking at ways to mitigate and avoid harmful effects of the DSM changes. More info here as the story evolves.
About the gravestone illustration:Yes, an unexpected choice for a blog titled Asperger’s Alive! But while I hope and believe the Asperger’s nomenclature will endure for those who want it, the DSM transition and its uncertainties invoke anxiety around self-identity for many Aspergerians. The gravestone was designed by Andrew I. Lerner of LernerGraphics.com. He wrote: “As of May 2013, I will be autistic, and have autism. Asperger’s Syndrome will cease to exist. The only cure for it was to eliminate its existence in the DSM-5. I will be relegated to a spectrum where you will not be able to see me. Many of my graphics will no longer be valid or recognized.”
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Mirror Neuron System Theory
|This section’s factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. The reason given is: There have been almost 4 decades since some of the material cited here was published, and current consensus in ASD is less straightforward than depicted here. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.|
The mirror neuron system theory hypothesizes that alterations to the development of the MNS interfere with imitation and lead to Asperger’s core feature of social impairment. One study found that activation is delayed in the core circuit for imitation in individuals with AS. This theory maps well to social cognition theories like the theory of mind, which hypothesizes that autistic behavior arises from impairments in ascribing mental states to oneself and others or hyper-systemizing, which hypothesizes that autistic individuals can systematize internal operation to handle internal events but are less effective at empathizing when handling events generated by other agents.
Dsm 5 Diagnostic Criteria
A good guide to the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for autism can be found here. A summary of the criteria is as follows:
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