(Asperger Syndrome, Asperger Disorder)
Asperger's Syndrome Overview
Asperger's syndrome, also known as Asperger disorder, Asperger syndrome, or AS, was formerly felt to be a distinct disorder related to autism, one of the pervasive developmental disorders (a spectrum of behavioral disorders including autism). Asperger's syndrome was characterized as one of the autism spectrum disorders (which also include autistic disorder, Rett disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified [PDD-NOS]). In the revised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) published in May 2013, Asperger's syndrome and autistic disorder have been combined into one condition for diagnostic purposes, known as autism spectrum disorder. However, many experts still believe that Asperger's syndrome should be preserved as a separate diagnostic entity to represent a condition related to, but not the same as, autism. Unlike persons with autistic disorder, those with Asperger's syndrome do not show a marked delay in language development or cognitive development. Asperger's syndrome is commonly recognized in children after the age of 3 years and is more frequently diagnosed in boys.
Individuals with Asperger's syndrome have serious impairments in their social and communication skills, including poor nonverbal communication. However, many individuals have good cognitive and verbal skills, and those with Asperger's syndrome typically have normal to superior intelligence. Many have excellent rote memory and become intensely interested in one or two subjects.
Children with Asperger's syndrome are typically educated in the mainstream setting but sometimes require education accommodations or special education services. These children often have difficulty making friends and are often ostracized, teased, or bullied by their peers.
Asperger's syndrome is named for Dr. Hans Asperger, an Austrian pediatrician, who first described the condition in 1944. The condition was first recognized as a diagnostic entity by the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV (DSM-IV) in 1994 but was combined with autistic disorder in the DSM-V issued in 2013.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/24/2015
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