Asperger's Syndrome has recently come under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorder. This syndrome usually affects the social skills of the patient, most heavily. The patient may seem normal and even intelligent at first glance. But on closer interaction, several social skill problems will come to the fore including an obsessive focus on certain topics and issues. Repetitive behaviour is also a part of this disease.
Let us find out more about Asperger's Syndrome:
- Symptoms: The symptoms usually begin to show up early on in one's childhood. The patient will not be able to make eye contact while speaking with others. Also, a perfectly normal person may seem inordinately shy and reserved during social interactions. This awkwardness may come to the fore in the form of looking for expression cues on other people's faces and even the body language. The patient may not be a very happy and lively soul, with hardly a smile to crack at the funniest of jokes. The lack of emotions or the emotionally numb state is also a major giveaway of the condition. Other symptoms may include a strong aversion towards change in food habits and routine.
- Diagnosis: The diagnosis is usually done by mental health specialists like a developmental paediatrician, a psychiatrist, a psychologist or even a paediatric neurologist. These specialists can put the child through a variety of tests that will study the neurological health as well as the speech and emotional behaviour of the child.
- Educating the Parent: Once the diagnosis has been done, the parents of the patient will have to appraised of the condition and its implications. The symptoms and treatment will have to be duly discussed even as the parents are put through training and therapy to learn techniques with which they can help the child in progressing along more normal lines. The therapy will also help the parents deal with the challenge of living with someone suffering from this condition.
- Treatment: There are varied forms of treatment that aim at fixing the specific areas and symptoms that the patient is learning to live with. Social skills training, speech and language therapy, CBT or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and other forms of treatment can help the child overcome many symptoms that come from this condition.
In the course of the treatment, it is important for the child, parent and therapist concerned to realise that there is no single approach that can be applied to all patients suffering from Asperger's Syndrome. Individual care and therapy will be required for individual cases. At the same time, most of the skills will need to be repeated at home so that the child takes them more seriously.