Key points

  • Asperger’s disorder is no longer diagnosed. The term autism spectrum disorder (ASD) now includes children who were previously described as having Asperger’s.

  • Children previously diagnosed with Asperger’s disorder have an IQ in the normal range and good language skills.

  • These children have poor social communication skills, special interests, and repetitive behaviour.

Some common characteristics

Children diagnosed with Asperger’s disorder may not have an intellectual disability, but other areas of their life might be affected. they might have mixed abilities. For example - they might have very good verbal skills but be very clumsy.

They might have a favourite topic, and they will be extremely knowledgable about that topic.

They might have very good language skills for their age and will engage in conversations when the topic is of interest to them. Even being willing to start the discussion.

They might take things too literally and have difficulty understanding jokes.

They will often miss social cues.

They usually will not like change and this can cause great upset unless they are pre-warned of any differences to their normal routine.

Some early signs

  • Some children with Aspergers fail to attain milestones within their first year of life. Some of these might include - unassisted standing, crawling, and simple gestures (waving)

Social Interaction

  • Within the first months, an infant with Aspergers may have trouble interacting with his or her environment. They may avoid eye contact and interactions, they may avoid attention and affection and prefer solitude.

  • Babies may not exhibit a social smile until much later on in their life.

  • Infants may totally ignore the voices of the moms and dads or strangers. As the youngster ages, the lack of normal social skills becomes more apparent.

  • The development of social skills is one of the most common symptoms of Aspergers. This shows an inability to communicate with others and showing delays in social development.

  • They might start interactions with others but have difficulty keeping a conversation going.

  • They may find it easier to interact with adults rather than with other children.

  • They may interact with people if they need something or want to talk about something that interests them, but not because they’re genuinely interested in other people.

  • They might seem as if they are showing no empathy and appear to be insensitive.

  • People with Asperger syndrome often have difficulty 'reading' other people - recognising or understanding others’ feelings and intentions - and expressing their own emotions.

  • They may seek time alone when they feel overloaded


Communication and Language

  • They might be very verbal, but only if the topic interests them.

  • They might like wordplay - for example, they might label everything in a room

  • They will answer questions, but not ask questions if the topic doesn’t interest them.

  • Autistic people, including those with Asperger syndrome, have difficulties with interpreting both verbal and non-verbal language like gestures or tone of voice.

  • They may have a very literal understanding of language.

  • they often think people always mean exactly what they say. They may find it difficult to use or understand - tone of voice, jokes and facial expressions

Patterns of Behaviours

  • Later in infancy, some children with Aspergers might show difficulty when reacting with activities and objects.

  • Signs of repetitive behaviours might start to show, such as rocking.

  • Some children prefer to have a daily routine so that they know what is going to happen every day.

  • People with Asperger syndrome may also experience over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light, colours, temperatures or pain.

  • A key difference between autism and Aspergers is the normal development of language found in children with Aspergers. By 12 months, a toddler should begin saying single words, including kids with Aspergers.

  • Uncoordinated movements are a common symptom in Aspergers. Children with Aspergers might be seen to be moving clumsily. They might show an odd posture or have a rigid gait.

  • Infants may show a delay in learning how to crawl or walk, and may also exhibit a delay in fine motor movements, such as grasping an object.

  • Obsession is common for young children with Aspergers. They may become obsessed with complex topics, such as intricate patterns, or a stylized pattern on a fabric or in a book.

  • Many children with Asperger syndrome have intense and highly-focused interests.

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