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What is Asperger Syndrome?

An Introduction


Asperger Syndrome is an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and was first included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (American Psychiatric Association) under the general category of Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDDs) in 1994.

Asperger Syndrome is named after the Vienna-based pediatrician, Hans Asperger, who, in 1944, studied and wrote about children in his practice who demonstrated the cluster of characteristics that are prevalent in those diagnosed today with Asperger Syndrome..

Although research on the prevalence rate for Asperger Syndrome is ongoing, it is thought that as many as 1 in 165 individuals in Canada have some form of an ASD. Based on current population statistics, this prevalence rate translates to an estimated 70,000 individuals in Ontario with an ASD.

Asperger Syndrome traits may make it difficult for children to function well in school and for adults to find and keep employment. Many individuals with Asperger Syndrome exhibit extensive knowledge of a specific interest and therefore are capable of major accomplishments.

Although Asperger Syndrome can be first detected in childhood, many individuals are not diagnosed until well into adolescence or adulthood.

The cause of Asperger Syndrome is not yet established, but a leading theory at this time points to genetic causes. Many individuals diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome identify similar traits in their family members.

Treatments for those with Asperger Syndrome may include counseling, psycho-education, social skills training, medication, family intervention, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, special diets, and others.

Without diagnosis, support and intervention, those diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, as well as their families, struggle to understand their puzzling profile of strengths and deficits.

Common Traits of Individuals with Asperger Syndrome

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