Asperger’s syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) considered to be on the “high functioning” end of the spectrum. Affected children and adults have difficulty with social interactions and exhibit a restricted range of interests and/or repetitive behaviors. Motor development may be delayed, leading to clumsiness or uncoordinated motor movements. Compared with those affected by other forms of ASD, however, those with Asperger’s syndrome do not have significant delays or difficulties in language or cognitive development. Some even demonstrate precocious vocabulary —often in a highly specialized field of interest.
Asperger’s syndrome often remains undiagnosed until a child or adult begins to have serious difficulties in school, the workplace or their personal lives. Indeed, many adults with Asperger’s syndrome receive their diagnosis when seeking help for related issues such as anxiety or depression. Diagnosis tends to center primarily on difficulties with social interactions. Some parents are reluctant to seek treatment for their child because of the stigma of labeling their child or guilt for not seeking treatment sooner. It is important to know that sometimes parents felt that their child is just shy or “quirky”. Parents should know that it is never too late to seek help.
The following behaviors are often associated with Asperger’s syndrome. However, they are seldom all present in any one individual and vary widely in degree:
There is no single or best treatment for Asperger’s syndrome. Many adults diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome find cognitive behavioral therapy particularly helpful in learning social skills and self-control of emotions, obsessions and repetitive behaviors. Counseling should be comfortable for the individual, yet gently challenge them to explore ways to make them more successful.
Educational and social support programs for children with Asperger’s syndrome generally teach social and adaptive skills step by step using highly structured activities. The instructor may repeat important ideas or instructions to help reinforce more adaptive behaviors. Many of these programs also involve parent training so that lessons can be continued in the home. Like adults, many children find cognitive behavioral therapy helpful.
Most experts feel that the earlier interventions are started, the better the outcome. However, many persons who receive their diagnosis as adults make great strides by coupling their new awareness with counseling.
Counselor Jennifer specializes in helping individuals with Asperger’s syndrome. With increased self-awareness and therapy, many children and adults learn to cope with the challenges of Asperger’s syndrome. With therapy, and an improvement in social skills, many clients report an increase in self-esteem. Many people with Aspberger’s lead successful and productive lives and make great contributions to society.