Asbergers

asbergers

Social Symptoms

Like children with autism, children with asperger’s have difficulty interacting with others, though their social difficulties differ slightly.  For example, children with asperger’s:

– Initiate, but have difficulty sustaining social interactions
– Talk about their own interests without considering whether others are interested in the topic of conversation
– Engage in conversations to speak about their interests or to achieve a purpose  (e.g. asking for help), not to seek a
social relationship
– Make little eye contact
– Speak without changes in facial expression
– Interact more easily with adults than children
– Don’t share enjoyment with others by pointing out objects they find interesting
– Usually prefer to play alone; when children with asperger’s do involve others in their play it’s usually to serve a purpose (e.g. having someone hold up a tower) rather than to fulfill a desire for social interaction
– Appear awkward in social interactions

Whereas younger children with asperger’s might have little interest in building friendships, older children may have an interest in friendships but lack the necessary social skills to make friends.

Behavioural Symptoms

Children with asperger’s often become fixated on an area or object of interest.  They pursue their area of interest with such intensity that they become “walking encyclopedias”; able to recall numerous facts and pieces of information on request.

Repetitive behaviours are also common in children with asperger’s, including:

– Clapping
– Complex whole body movements
– Hand or finger flapping
– Lining up play objects over and over again

Like children with autism, children with asperger’s often have a strong need for “sameness” and are distressed by slight changes in their routines or their environment.  Children with asperger’s may express their distress through self-injurious behaviours (e.g. head banging, finger or hand biting), aggressiveness, or tantrums.

Communication

Unlike children with autism children with asperger’s develop language skills at the expected age; in fact many children with asperger’s are exceedingly verbal from a young age.  While children with asperger’s are not delayed in their language, their communication with others is affected by:

– A lack of ‘give-and-take’ in conversations, and
– Difficulties interpreting social cues and language (e.g. missing jokes, taking sarcastic comments literally)

Because children with asperger’s have difficulties in social situations, red flags often aren’t seen until pre-school when children are exposed to same-aged peers.  If you’re concerned your child might have asperger’s disorder it’s important to seek advice from a qualified professional (e.g. a pediatrician, a child clinical psychologist, and/or a child psychiatrist).  A diagnosis from a qualified professional may allow you to access early intervention government funding.  Click here to find out more about government funding for children with autism spectrum disorders.

 

Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified

All children with an autism spectrum disorder are different.  Some children will develop a number of, or more severe symptoms, while other children will develop only a few symptoms.  Children who show fewer and less severe symptoms may be diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS).

Although children with PDD-NOS have less difficulty communicating with and relating to other people, early intervention is still critical to help these children achieve positive outcomes.

An autism spectrum disorder diagnosis from a qualified professional may allow you to access early intervention government funding.  Click here to find out more about government funding for autism spectrum disorders.