Asperger?s Syndrome Essay

This essay has a total of 1061 words and 6 pages.

Asperger?s Syndrome

Asperger's Syndrome
Today there are many different types of disabilities and syndromes. When you have a child
to be diagnosed with a disability or a syndrome life can suddenly become overwhelming.
This is especially true if they have been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. Parents
sometimes feel guilty because their child has a disability or syndrome. Parents may feel
that they are responsible for their child's disability or syndrome. Parents may feel
guilty about their child being diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome since it is a
neurological disorder. This particular syndrome is not widely recognized by the general
public. Since Asperger's Syndrome is not widely recognized by the general public, the
public sometimes may not understand the behavior of someone who has Asperger's Syndrome.
This can be a challenge for a parent who tries to explain their child's behavior to
someone who has never heard of Asperger's. Parents until recently may have known their
child was behaving in an unusual manner but did not where to go for help. These are just
some of the challenges that parents' face when their child has Asperger's because it has
some of the same characteristics as Autism. This paper will review the definition and
characteristics of Asperger's Syndrome, what assessments are available to diagnose
Asperger's Syndrome, and what particular children are most often diagnosed with Asperger's
Syndrome.

Asperger's Syndrome was not made an official disorder until 1994. Asperger's was
discovered by Hans Asperger in the 1940's. Asperger's Syndrome is different from autism
and is under the category of Pervasive Developmental Disorders. Asperger has a long
definition. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV of the American
Psychiatric Association (cited in Klin & Volkmar, 1995) Asperger's syndrome follows the
same format as autism. The definition of Asperger's syndrome actually uses autism as a
reference point. Asperger's syndrome involves the absences of some abnormalities in
certain areas of functioning that are affected in autism. People with Asperger's can be
highly intelligent. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV of the American
Psychiatric Association (citied in Klin & Volkmar, 1995) the definition of Asperger
Syndrome there is a qualitative impairment in social interaction. There should be at least
two of the following impairments in social interaction: a marked impairment in multiple
nonverbal behaviors such as eye contact, facial expressions, body postures, and gestures
to regulate social interaction. A failure to develop peer relationships. A failure to
spontaneously seek and share enjoyment, interest or achievement with others. Also a lack
of social or emotional reciprocity, to exchange with others. Another area affected is
behavior they may have restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior,
interests, and activities, as Manifested by at least one of the following: (1)
encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of
interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus, (2) unable to change or stick to
nonfunctional routines or rituals. (3) repetitive motor mannerisms and (4) persistent
preoccupation with parts of objects. Also Asperger's has no clinically significant delay
in language, cognitive development, or in adaptive behavior.

There is still uncertainty in diagnosing someone with Asperger because of the similarities
in high functioning autism and Asperger. According to Attwood (1998) there can be two
stages to identifying Asperger. The first stage is to use a rating scale that involves
both parents and teachers. There are two new rating scales one developed in Sweden and the
other was developed in Australia (Attwood 1998). The second stage is to have a diagnostic
assessment done by an experienced clinician in the behaviors and abilities of children
with developmental disorders, using established criteria that gives a clear description of
the syndrome (Attwood 1998). According to Attwood (1998) there is no universal agreement
as to which diagnostic criteria to use. At the present time clinicians can use four sets
of criteria. According to Rubin and Laurent (2004) there is a curriculum-based assessment
called SCERTS Model. The SCERTS Model was designed to provide a specific purpose for
educational planning (Rubin and Laurent, 2004). Because there are no universal diagnostic
criteria and finding an experienced clinician who specializes in Asperger it can be a
challenge for parents to get the right diagnoses for their child. According to Tsatsanis,
Foley, and Donehower (2004), there has been greater interest in achieving an understanding
for the needs of children with Asperger syndrome. Due to the fact there has been a greater
interest in Asperger syndrome there might finally be a universal diagnostic criterion.

Asperger's syndrome is a relatively new term for parents and school systmes. In the past
it was rare to have a child diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome or even autism. Since
Asperger has become an official disorder there have been more children diagnosed with this
disorder. School systems can encounter several children with this disorder. According to
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