Activities To Do With A 4 Year Old With Autism How to Identify Atypical Aspergers Syndrome

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How to Identify Atypical Aspergers Syndrome

The incidence of Asperger’s Syndrome is increasing. Asperger’s is one of the Autistic Spectrum Disorders, or ASD’s. Whenever we see the occurrence of a discrepancy, I always ask the question “Does this problem happen often? These are very important professional questions. Notes and diagnosis can shape the future for better or worse. We should not be diagnosed lightly. There are many implications as a diagnosis.

I see with frequency, elements of Asperger’s Syndrome in children but without some important identifying symptoms. The diagnostic criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV (DSM-IV, a manual authorized by the American Psychiatric Association) are too long to be reproduced here in one article. Some of the specifics are as follows:

1. Bad relationship.

2. Avoid repetition and patterns of behavior, interests, and activities.

3. The disturbance causes significant disruption in social, work, or other important aspects of functioning.

4. No significant delay in language (eg, single word use by age 2, coherent sentence use by age 3).

5. There is no significant clinical delay in cognitive development at the age appropriate for self-help, behavioral change (except in relationships), and thinking aware of the childhood environment.

6. Incorrect criteria for other specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder or Schizophrenia. (1)

You can search online or at your library for more information on diagnostic procedures.

I am using the term “Atypical Asperger’s Syndrome” to refer to children who seem to meet some of the criteria but not all. Things don’t seem to click for these kids. They just don’t join in with what other kids do.

Atypical Aspergers can best be discussed by comparing it to some of the diagnoses that we will consider. They are as follows:

· Social Anxiety Disorder: Children with this disorder may seem very shy. They refuse to share with other children. They like the company of adults. In differentiating this from Atypical Asperger’s, the Asperger’s child is not distant, worried or worried by the fact that they are not included in the group. Or, they are included in the group but stay a little away forever. They can play side by side with other children without interfering with other children.

· Low Intellectual Functioning: Based on the initial assessment, the Atypical Aspergers child may or may not have intellectual abilities. A child who is gifted will often do poorly in school and must have elementary classes. Atypical Asperger’s children however are often bright. They are good at trying even if they seem lost or uninterested.

Asperger’s Syndrome children are often blind, speak in limited language, are tangential, tend to be isolated. They show a lack of desire to find fun, love or fulfillment with others. They also show a lack of social or emotional harmony.

I’m seeing Atypical Asperger’s kids who make eye contact. Most of them are able to communicate with me in the office. They usually do this better in the office because I am an adult. Parents and teachers report that these children are not good at talking to their peers. They may share experiences or achievements but most of the time inappropriately, interrupting the conversation a bit. And although they are brilliant, if I were their age I would not be interested in what they are talking about. They seem to be immature, because they don’t know about relationships.

For some reason, the Atypical Asperger’s child does not seem to like sports and is not good at them. I don’t understand all the neurology involved but I think there is a connection.

Fashionable Syndrome?

I was discussing Asperger’s with my 24 year old son last week. We looked at the homes of America’s richest people, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and “facebook man” Mark Zuckerberg. Our conversation led us to “three of these wonderful creative people have Asperger’s.” And we need to make a point, just because someone seems to be social doesn’t mean they have a disorder at all, let alone Aspergers. It’s just a conversation. I didn’t recognize any of these people from afar and didn’t know they had any of Asperger’s Syndrome. The point is that he told me that in his 20s a group it has become “fashionable” to say that you have Asperger’s. It is a sign of respect and a simple explanation for the “quirkiness” present in the relationship. Men in bars and clubs have used this to create an image of the “intellectual elite” affecting themselves. I see it as a way of saying “I’m better and smarter than you and you can’t really understand me so don’t try.” It’s the new “I’m a nerd” post. Remember when being called a nerd was an insult? Remember when it became a symbol of respect years later? This also shows that the apparent adult Atypical Asperger’s Syndrome occurs in creative people. I do not believe that the phenomenon is more common in bright people than in bright people. We only see it more because we see high achievers overall more than low achievers.

This may seem strange or strange at first glance. But think about how often you hear people talk about “my ADD.” I hear this all the time. It becomes an excuse for everything. Any time someone forgets, fails to complete a project or returns a phone call quickly, they declare that he has ADD. So to think that the current controversy or “controversy du jour” is something called Asperger’s, doesn’t surprise me. We, as a society, are influenced by advertising and fashion now. All Autistic Spectrum Disorders are in “fashion” in the media.

And this shows concern. Some diagnoses are popular. Think about this moment. The popular diagnosis in the 1980s was “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.” I guess you forgot about that. When was the last time you heard of someone having it? Recently, eh. Where did he go? What is the cure? In the 1990’s ADD and ADHD came full circle, even though we were talking about it in the 80’s. They are also very beautiful. But in the year 2000 we started to see more children with Bipolar disorder. When I first started in this field in the 1980’s this diagnosis was limited to adults. Well, it was interesting. Eventually, it became a widely used diagnostic tool. Today, the prevalence of all Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnoses is becoming more and more common. Asperger’s Syndrome and what I call Atypical Asperger’s Syndrome fall under the category of ASD. We need to remember that diagnosis can bring education and relationships. This baggage can be helpful or limiting. Hiding behind a diagnosis can limit growth and development. Self-esteem can be improved or damaged by a diagnosis. A proper diagnosis can lead to understanding and opening up opportunities.

I believe I am seeing more Atypical Asperger’s in my practice. The truth is, we are all different from each other. To think that there is a certain way to be, grow and develop in childhood or adulthood is wrong. We all operate within a range of parameters. Atypical Asperger’s is just on a different scale than most people are used to.

Here are some simple considerations if you are wondering if your child has a form of Asperger’s Syndrome:

  1. Your child is bright but doesn’t interact with good friends.
  2. Your child doesn’t have a normal filter when it comes to expressing himself. He said inappropriate things at inappropriate times.
  3. He doesn’t seem to bother being on the “outside” of any relationship.
  4. He is preoccupied or his focus on certain activities is unusual or unusual.
  5. He is preoccupied with one part of the product in a way that others are not.
  6. His conversation ran to things that did not interest others, and he did not notice.

This is not an exhaustive list or comprehensive guide. But it’s a good start. Get a comprehensive evaluation if you think this might be a problem.

Please contact me for assistance in evaluation or treatment. Although only asking my questions in email, I have.

Copyright 2010 John Hudome, all rights reserved.

Documents: (1) Desk Reference To The Diagnostic Criteria From DSM-IV-TR, Copyright 2000 American Psychiatric Association.

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