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Asperger Syndrome: What To Know About It

18 February marks International Asperger's Day. Asperger affects social and communication skills of more than 43 million people worldwide.

Asperger Syndrome is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects a person’s social interaction, communication, and behavior. Individuals with Asperger may have difficulty understanding nonverbal cues, making eye contact and maintaining relationships with others.

Fast Facts On Asperger Syndrome

People with Asperger often engage in repetitive behaviors and have restricted interests (in a single object or topic) that they become intensely focused on. These behaviors may include hand flapping, rocking back and forth, as well as some other self-stimulatory behaviors. Aditionally, individuals with Asperger may also have trouble with transitions, changes in routines, or new environments.

Although the exact cause of Asperger is not known, it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Specialists usually diagnose Asperger in childhood or early adolescence. Thus, it can have a significant impact on people’s life, including their education, career and relationships.

It is not exactly known how many people experience Asperger. Some estimates put the figure at around 1 in 250 people. However, this estimate may not be accurate. Partly, due to the lack of prevalence studies and the new categorisation of the syndrome within the broad category of autism.

Asperger: An Autistic Spectrum Disorder Or Not?

Asperger was first identified by Austrian paediatrician Hans Asperger in 1944. It was once considered a separate disorder from autism. Nevertheless, in 2013, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) merged Asperger Syndrome with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This decision was controversial and sparked debate among researchers, clinicians and individuals with Asperger.

On one side of the debate, some argue that Asperger is a distinct condition with its own unique features, such as higher-than-average intelligence and better language skills compared to individuals with autism. On the other side, some argue that Asperger and autism are part of the same spectrum of disorders and that merging them under the ASD diagnosis will help ensure more consistent diagnoses and treatment.

Therapies And Support

It is controversial whether Asperger should be considered part of the autism spectrum or not. However, regardless of the debate, the fact remains that individuals with Asperger can face significant challenges in their daily lives. They may struggle with social interaction, sensory sensitivities and anxiety. But, with early intervention, support and understanding, individuals with Asperger can learn to manage their symptoms and thrive.

Treatment for Asperger may include behavioral therapy, social skills training and medication. Medication can help to manage co-occurring conditions like anxiety or depression. It is important to seek a professional evaluation if you suspect that you or a loved one may have Asperger. Specialists can provide a comprehensive evaluation and develop an individualized treatment plan to support your/your relative’s needs.

It is essential to understand that individuals with Asperger have unique strengths and abilities. These potentialities mean individuals do make valuable contributions to society. With acceptance and support, people with Asperger can live fulfilling lives.


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