Asperger’s Syndrome

What Is Asperger’s Syndrome?

Asperger’s syndrome is now viewed as being “on the spectrum”; in other words, a mild form of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ASDs are neurodevelopmental conditions caused by abnormalities in the structure and function of certain areas in the brain. Genetic factors or pregnancy and delivery complications may play a role. Vaccinations do not. Autism is not caused by bad parenting.

What Are the Symptoms of Asperger’s?

Two features must be present and significantly interfere with the child’s life in order to make the diagnosis:

  • Persistent problems with social communication. The child avoids eye contact. It is very hard for her to participate in conversation with others and in the give-and-take of normal play. He is often seen as weird by other children and may be teased or even bullied. Speech is pedantic, and the child will go on and on about one topic and become very upset if interrupted.
  • A restricted fixed set of interests. The child may memorize train schedules but be afraid to travel by train or subway; or she may know every type of camera but show no interest in photography. He is rigid and hates any type of change.

In addition, ADHD symptoms are often present. Children with an ASD will need specialized help, such as speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, social skills training and usually some form of special schooling.

What About the Future?

Asperger’s syndrome is a lifelong condition, but the future is not always grim. With proper treatment as a child, the adolescent or adult with Asperger’s may be viewed as eccentric or nerdy rather than as abnormal. He will probably find his niche in society, be gainfully employed, have friends and be in a relationship with the right partner.

Consulting with Dr. Turecki

If you are worried about your child and contact Dr. Turecki, he will first speak with you by phone to learn more about your concerns. You will then come in with your child for a Comprehensive Evaluation. At the end of the visit, Dr. Turecki will share his professional opinion with you, answer your questions and then collaborate with you (and an older child or adolescent) to develop a personalized treatment plan. If needed, Dr. Turecki will recommend the appropriate special help. The plan may include parental education and guidance, with an emphasis on teaching you behavioral strategies, therapy for your child, and the use of carefully chosen and monitored medication if there are associated behavior problems, significant anxiety or ADHD symptoms. Alternative approaches may be helpful.