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Pervasive developmental disorder - Asperger syndrome; Autistic spectrum disorder - Asperger
People with Asperger syndrome become over-focused or obsessed on a single object or topic, ignoring all others. They want to know everything about this topic, and often talk about little else.
People with Asperger do not withdraw from the world in the way that people with autism withdraw. They will often approach other people. However, their problems with speech and language in a social setting often lead to isolation.
People with Asperger syndrome have trouble forming relationships with children their own age or other adults, because they:
Children with Asperger syndrome may show delays in motor development, and unusual physical behaviors, such as:
Many children with Asperger syndrome are very active, and may also be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Anxiety or depression may develop during adolescence and young adulthood. Symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder and a tic disorder such as Tourette syndrome may be seen.
There is not a standardized (used and accepted by almost everyone) test used to diagnose Asperger syndrome.
Most doctors look for a core group of behaviors to help them diagnose Asperger syndrome. These behaviors include:
Symptoms may be noticeable in the first few months of life. Problems should be obvious by age 3 years.
Physical, emotional, and mental tests are done to rule out other causes and look more closely for signs of this syndrome. The team that will see your child includes a psychologist, neurologist, psychiatrist, speech therapist, and other professionals who are experts in diagnosing children with Asperger syndrome.
Bostic JQ, Prince JB. Child and adolescent psychiatric disorders. In: Stern TA, Rosenbaum JF, Fava M, Biederman J, Rauch SL, eds. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. 1st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2008:chap 69.
Shah PE, Dalton R, Boris NW. Pervasive developmental disorders and childhood psychosis. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 29.
Asperger Syndrome Fact Sheet. NINDS. January 2005. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. NIH Publication No. 05-5624. Last updated Octboer 19, 2009.
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