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What is Asperger's Disorder?

First described in 1940 by Hans Asperger, a Viennese pediatrician, Asperger's Disorder is described as autistic-like behaviors and difficulties with social and communication skills in children of normal intelligence and language development.

To an outside observer, a child with Asperger's may just seem like a normal child who is behaving differently.  These children usually have the desire to socialize with others, they just lack the skills to do so, and this can be a major cause of frustration.

Common symptoms of Asperger's are:

  • Socially awkward
  • No understanding of conventional social rules
  • Lack of empathy
  • Limited eye contact
  • May appear clumsy or awkward
  • Obsessive interest in certain subjects, such as trains, science, movies etc.

A big difference of children with Asperger's versus autism, is that there is usually not a speech delay.  In fact, these children can have advanced language skills although they may have speech patterns that seem unusual.  Such as, an advanced vocabulary or sentence structure that may reflect an age much older than they are.

If you suspect your child may have Asperger's disorder, an assessment is needed by a medical professional who has with experience with autism.  Early diagnosis is important as children with Asperger's who are diagnosed and treated early in life have a much higher success rate in school and eventually living independently. 

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