Asperger syndrome is a higher form of autism wherein the patient experiences difficulties in interacting socially and has very repetitive and confined interests and behavioral patterns. Up to the present, the main cause of Asperger syndrome remains unknown. It is said that it could come from a genetic base or exposure to teratogens while in the womb of the mother. This syndrome was named after Hans Asperger who conducted a study on children who had difficulty in communicating.
The treatment for a person with Asperger syndrome only aims to improve the symptoms and the overall functioning. Here are some of the facts about Asperger syndrome that you may be interested in:
People diagnosed with Asperger syndrome have difficulty in forming and maintaining friendships and serious relationships. They also have a hard time sharing interests with other people. They cannot enjoy having achievements in the presence of company. They do not reciprocate emotions and social gestures very well. Their non-verbal communication skills such as body language, facial expressions, posture, and eye contact are very much impaired. They usually select people that they want t talk to. They could talk less to others and talk excessively to some. The conversations are usually one-sided wherein the person with Asperger syndrome is usually the only one talking. When it comes to gatherings, they are very withdrawn. They usually need to have that privacy or the urge to hastily leave the place. Asperger syndrome patients do have clear understanding of human behavior but the way they execute or apply them is very awkward, rigid, and forced. To other people, they look very unsure of what they are doing or showing socially.
2. Repetitive interests
The interests, behavior, and activities set people with Asperger syndrome apart from the others. They are very abnormally intensely focused on what they are interested in. They are very detailed about the amount of information that they gather about their interests. Routine is the basis of their activities and it would take so much just to veer away from that routine. If they find something very interesting, they will really take note of the intricate details such and dates and names, without really having a grasp of the general topic itself. An excellent example is theater arts. The person with Asperger syndrome could just give important presentations and characters but never understand what “theater arts” really is.
3. Speech and senses
The speech pattern of a person diagnosed with Asperger syndrome is a bit different from a normal person’s. They do not deliver normal tone, pitch, rhythm, and loudness. They use metaphors and interpretations that are only of meaning to the author or the speaker. They usually see and use language in the literal sense. They have difficulty in comprehending figurative language or jokes. Asperger syndrome patients also have unusual sensitivity to light, sound, and touch. They also have difficulty sleeping and recognizing emotions.
Asperger syndrome patients are usually diagnosed between four and eleven years old, wherein assessment is performed on every aspect of the child’s developmental skills. There are times when the child may be misdiagnosed and the medications prescribed could result to a very traumatized family.
Treatment for patients with Asperger syndrome are mostly therapies and medications. Therapies aim to correct the obsessive, repetitive routines and the social interactions. Behavioral therapy is used to manage stress and obsessions. Speech therapy is also used to improve the way that the patient speaks, especially in handling a conversation. Medications do not treat Asperger syndrome. These only treat the comorbid symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and aggression. Some of the prescribed medications are SSRI (selective, serotonin reuptake inhibitors), fluoxetine, sertraline, fluvoxamine, olanzapine, and rispeidone. Some side effects are neurological side effects, weight gain, dicturbance of sleep, dystonia, restlessness, increased levels of prolactine, abnormal heart conduction, abnormal metabolism, diabetes, and sedation.
Taking care of a person with Asperger syndrome can be very challenging. You have to have patience and deep understanding of the condition before you actually immerse yourself in helping the loved one or a friend. There will be times when the patient won’t be too responsive to you or may even decide to just do their own thing. You don’t have to impose change quickly if they are not ready, then that would be your cue to stop for a while until the patient is ready to taught new things again. Just take it one step at a time. Trust is important in managing Asperger syndrome. If you want to go through this journey, coordinate well with the attending psychotherapist for the best possible combinations of therapies.