A Z Psychiatry 


Ray's Web Encyclopedia of Mental Health



Asperger's Syndrome

Clinical Findings

Asperger's Syndrome is characterised by impairments in social interaction and restricted interest and behaviors as witnessed in Autisim. However unlike Autisim, there is no clinically significant general delay in receptive or spoken language, cognitive development, self-help skills and curiosity about the environment (ICD-10).

All absorbing and intense circumscribed interests as well as motor clumsiness are typical, but not essential for diagnosis.

  • Speech and Communication:
    Diagnosis requires that single word should have developed by 2 years of age or earlier and that communicative phrases be used by 3 years or earlier. Inspite of normal early speech-communication skills, certain aspects become more deviant over time. Their conversation is often described as being stilted, gauche, thought disordered, and centering on idiosyncratic interests that preoccupy them. Prosody may be poor, rate of speech may also be unusual. They are often noted to talk too little or too much. Frequent abnormalities in inflection (either flat or monotonous or exaggerated) along with out of context repitition of phrases can be seen. Nonverbal communication is also impaired as seen in limited use of facial expressions and gestures.

  • Social Interaction:
    They exhibit somewhat eccentric social styles with over-reliance on rigid rules for social interaction. They may fail to 'see the forest for the trees' in social matters (e.g. appreciation of when exactly the usual rules do not apply is as important as when they do). They may approach others to have their needs met, engage in one sided social interactions and have difficulty sensing or are detached from the feelings of others.

  • Circumscribed interests:
    They may amass considerable factual information about their subject of interest which they pursue with great intensity, to the extent that their family life may revolve around the topic. The one sided conversations that they engage in are often on the same.

  • Motor Clumsiness:
    Motor milestones may be delayed - for instance, the child may talk before he walks, have troboule catching a ball, or riding a bicycle and so on.

Introduction | Epidemiology |Aetiology | Differential Diagnosis | Treatment | Prognosis

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