Children with Asperger syndrome have difficulty interacting socially, physically clumsy, and perform repetitive routines . It is a disorder characterized by the fact that the child manifests limited interests or an unusual and obsessive preoccupation with a particular object or topic, even excluding other activities and topics of conversation. These children tend to have above-average intelligence , repetitive routines, and a tendency to speak too monotonously.
They sometimes exhibit socially and emotionally inappropriate behavior and are unable to interact with other people. This syndrome shares an essential characteristic with autism: problems interacting in society . However, some elements differentiate these two disorders.
It is estimated that around 3 in 1,000 children could suffer from the disorder , which is more common in boys. Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Michelangelo, and Beethoven are believed to have suffered from Asperger syndrome . We tell you a little more about how this disorder affects people who suffer from it.
WHAT IS ASPERGER SYNDROME?
This syndrome was first described in 1944 by the Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger, who followed four children who had difficulties integrating into their social environment. However, it was not until 1981, when this disorder began to be studied by scientists and was renamed Asperger’s Syndrome.
It is a very common brain development disorder, it is estimated that 3 to 7 per 1,000 children between 7 and 16 years of age suffer from it , presenting a higher incidence in boys over girls. The exact cause is unknown, but research points to the possibility that it is due to brain abnormalities. There also appears to be a hereditary component, and other studies indicate that in some cases this syndrome can be associated with other mental disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder .
OFTEN VIEWED AS A FORM OF AUTISM
It is often considered a form of autism. However, this syndrome appears later than autism or, at least, is detected later. Many children are diagnosed after they are 3 years old and most are between 5 and 9 years old . Experts say that Asperger syndrome evolves continuously and usually lasts for life. In any case, it has been shown that symptoms can come and go over time and early intervention can be very useful.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CHILD WITH ASPERGER’S SYNDROME
The child with Asperger’s has a normal external appearance, is usually intelligent, and has no delay in the acquisition of speech . However, they have problems relating to other children or adults and sometimes they exhibit inappropriate behaviors. The most distinctive symptom of Asperger Syndrome is the child’s obsessive interest in a single object or subject, excluding the rest of the normal interests for his age. They end up being true experts in that area. Areas of interest can be quite limited, such as an obsession with train times, phone books, a vacuum cleaner, or collections of memorabilia.
Children with Asperger syndrome may show delays in motor development and physical clumsiness , such as delayed learning to ride a bicycle, difficulty catching a ball or climbing, stumbling when walking or injuring themselves easily, have a strange rhythm when running and poor dexterity in motor coordination .
Their problems interacting in a social setting often lead to isolation. They do not usually look into the eyes of their interlocutor. He does not understand ironies, double meanings, or sarcasms. Change the subject when confused. They have a pedantic language, very formal, with an extensive vocabulary, and they often make up words or expressions. At times he seems to be absent, absorbed in his thoughts. And they are rarely interested in what others may say to them. Has a peculiar sense of humor.
THE FIRST YEARS ARE BASIC FOR DETECTION
The child with this pathology usually shows an uncompromising devotion to routines. Compulsively repeat certain actions or behaviors, this gives you security. It has elaborate rituals that must be followed. For example, line up toys before going to bed. They do not tolerate unforeseen changes well, such as a change in plans or an unexpected departure.
Other features to highlight are:
– Does not normally enjoy social contact.
– Has problems playing with other children and prefers to play alone.
– You want to impose your own rules when playing
– Little tolerance for frustration.
– You find it difficult to identify your feelings and you have disproportionate emotional reactions.
– When he enjoys he tends to get excited: jumping, screaming and clapping his hands.
– He has more tantrums than normal for his age when he does not get something.
– You lack empathy and can make offensive comments to other people without realizing it. They often do not understand why they are being scolded, criticized, or punished.
– It has an exceptional memory to remember data, for example: birthday dates, facts and events.
Asperger’s Syndrome usually manifests itself when the child begins the preschool stage, especially with a motor delay or clumsiness that is not characteristic of his age. L fter, in the school years , begin to manifest deficiencies in social interaction. Despite their difficulties, children with this disorder are noble, have a big heart, boundless goodness, are faithful, sincere and have no malice .
WHAT TREATMENT SHOULD YOU FOLLOW?
Experts affirm that early treatment, covering educational and social aspects, carried out at a time when the brain is still developing, is extremely important for a child affected by this syndrome. There is no single treatment that is the best for all children, as this pathology can present with very different patterns of behavior and problems among those affected.
The recommended programs for these children are those that teach them skills based on a series of simple steps and using highly structured activities. They cover topics such as:
-Cognitive therapy or psychotherapy to help them manage their emotions, repetitive behaviors and obsessions.
-Teach parents techniques that can be used at home.
-Physiotherapy and occupational therapy to help with motor skills and sensory problems, in which children are desensitized to stimuli to which they are excessively sensitive, especially noise and lights.
-Training in contacts and social skills , which are usually taught in groups.
-Logopedia and speech therapy to teach them to communicate with others.
-Teach them the skills necessary to take care of themselves. Learning these skills helps children develop maximum independence.
Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, antipsychotics, and stimulants can be used to treat problems such as anxiety, depression, trouble paying attention, and aggression .
Involving everyone who cares for the child in his treatment will be of great help to him. Teachers, babysitters, other family members, or close friends must know how to interact with the child. Children with Asperger syndrome can make great strides with proper treatment and education.