Q: What is Asperger’s Syndrome?
A: Asperger’s Syndrome is a Developmental Disorder that is first noticeable in early childhood. It is difficult to diagnose
and there is no cure. However, when the diagnosis is made early, before age 2, there are effective treatments and
training programs that are helpful. Signs of Asperger’s can be seen in in the first 12 months of a baby’s life. Asperger babies are often irritable, cry frequently and are difficult to comfort. They may not seem cuddly or responsive to the parent’s voice or touch. Verbal
cooing and smiling in recognition of a parent’s face by 6-9 months or not using words by 16 months can be signs
of Asperger’s. However, there is a range of normal development and one or two symptoms, in isolation, are not
enough to confirm a diagnosis of Asperger’s. A trained mental health professional or your child’s pediatrician should
be contacted with any concerns regarding your child’s verbal or social development.
Older children with Asperger’s have a hard time with social interaction. They may not display appropriate reactions
or facial expressions. They may have good language development but their conversations may seem odd unusual or
hard to follow. They may develop particular interests in things to the exclusion of other interests i.e. human anatomy,
dictionaries, airplanes, dinosaurs or other narrow topics that may appear intellectual but have become obsessive.
The world view of Asperger’s children is different from other children and they have trouble making or keeping friends.
They seem self-centered and easily annoyed. They have frequent meltdowns and seem clumsy. They often suffer from
depression because they perceive their social isolation without understanding it.
Psychological help is available for children and adults with this condition. Early diagnosis and treatment is best but
anyone who suffers from this problem can find ways to deal with their world and find some level of happiness with
the proper help.