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Aspergers Syndrome is a developmental disorder classified under "pervasive development disorder" (PDD). In lay terms this means that individuals with Aspergers Syndrome have delays in development of multiple basic functions especially around socialization and communication. It is estimated that 1 in 277 of all children suffer from Aspergers Syndrome
Aspergers Syndrome and Autism are different grades in a spectrum of development disorder. It is similar to classic Autism in a variety of ways but differs mainly because Aspergers Syndrome individuals are usually higher functioning. IQ tests may show superior intelligence or even a very high memory capacity in individuals diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome.
Some of the differences from Autism include:
-Onset of symptoms is usually later in Aspergers Syndrome
-Social and communication deficits are less severe in Aspergers Syndrome
-Circumscribed interests are more prominent in Aspergers Syndrome
-Verbal IQ is usually higher than performance IQ (in autism, the case is usually the reverse)
-Family history is more frequently positive in Aspergers Syndrome
Due to lack of physical manifestations, and variability in presentation, Aspergers Syndrome is often not identified in early childhood; in fact many individuals are not diagnosed until they are adults!!
Although children with Aspergers Syndrome tend to look exactly like other children, they behave differently. These results in the following:
-Siblings feel embarrassed around peers; often times frustrated by not having the relationship they expected with their sibling and most importantly feel angry because children with Aspergers Syndrome require a lot of parent's time.
-Frustration for parents; Parenting a child with Aspergers Syndrome can be frustrating, tiring and demanding. It is hard enough for parents to understand why their beloved child has this disorder. It is even more difficult to understand and relate to the child behavior triggered by no "apparent" cause. Child with Aspergers Syndrome may start hitting family members, shout and scream without any apparent cause.
As a result of this parents and siblings can get overwhelmed in coping with the behavior arising as a result of Aspergers Syndrome. Other times it may even disrupt peace at home. This further worsens the Childs behavior and hence a vicious circle ensues.
Although there is no definitive "cure" Aspergers Syndrome, treatment is given around the core symptoms of:
-Poor communication skills
-Obsessive or repetitive routines
A typical treatment program to Aspergers Syndrome generally includes ;Social skill training; Cognitive behavior therapy; Medications, mainly for depression, anxiety, and ADD/ADHD; Occupational or physical therapy; Specialized speech therapy; Parent training and support
To overview; It is important that parents have a good understanding of what Aspergers Syndrome is??. It is important for the child that siblings and family are explained about the syndrome (to help them deal with it better). Furthermore focused activities should be planned with the child everyday e.g. swimming, shopping etc; Parents should attempt to make the child's childhood as "normal" as possible (It is tempting for the parents and siblings to cuddle the child with Aspergers Syndrome) - this is important so that the child can have similar childhood as their siblings e.g. sibling rivalry, fighting over toys, TV shows etc.
Dealing with a child with Aspergers Syndrome can get challenging. With some help and guidance, it can help the parents and the child a long way, in how to deal with day to day scenarios and to keep peace in their families.
Shaikh MD is a doctor with special interest in Aspergers Syndrome.To learn more about Aspergers Syndrome visit http://www.aspergerssyndrome-about.blogspot.com/
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