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Misdiagnosing Aspergers

"Is it possible for a child suspected of having Aspergers to be misdiagnosed as having a Personality Disorder?"

Personality disorders cannot be safely diagnosed prior to early adolescence. Still, though frequently found between the ages of 3 and 6, Aspergers (high functioning autism) is often misdiagnosed as a cluster B personality disorder, most often as the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

1. The Aspergers Child

The Aspergers child is self-centered and engrossed in a narrow range of interests and activities. Social and occupational interactions are severely hampered and conversational skills (the give and take of verbal intercourse) are primitive. The Aspergers child's body language - eye to eye gaze, body posture, facial expressions - is constricted and artificial, akin to children with the Schizoid, Schizotypal, and Narcissistic Personality Disorders. Nonverbal cues are virtually absent and their interpretation in others lacking. Yet, Aspergers and personality pathologies have little in common.

2. Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Aspergers

Consider pathological narcissism. The narcissist switches between social agility and social impairment voluntarily. His social dysfunctioning is the outcome of conscious haughtiness and the reluctance to invest scarce mental energy in cultivating relationships with inferior and unworthy others. When confronted with potential Sources of Narcissistic Supply, however, the narcissist easily regains his social skills, his charm, and his gregariousness.

Many narcissists reach the highest rungs of their community, church, firm, or voluntary organization. Most of the time, they function flawlessly - though the inevitable blowups and the grating extortion of Narcissistic Supply usually put an end to the narcissist's career and social liaisons.

The Aspergers child often wants to be accepted socially, to have friends, to marry, to be sexually active, and to sire offspring. He just doesn't have a clue how to go about it. His affect is limited. His initiative - for instance, to share his experiences with nearest and dearest or to engage in foreplay - is thwarted. His ability to divulge his emotions stilted. He is incapable or reciprocating and is largely unaware of the wishes, needs, and feelings of his interlocutors or counterparties.

Inevitably, Aspergers children are perceived by others to be cold, eccentric, insensitive, indifferent, repulsive, exploitative or emotionally-absent. To avoid the pain of rejection, they confine themselves to solitary activities - but, unlike the schizoid, not by choice. They limit their world to a single topic, hobby, or person and dive in with the greatest, all-consuming intensity, excluding all other matters and everyone else. It is a form of hurt-control and pain regulation.

Thus, while the narcissist avoids pain by excluding, devaluing, and discarding others - the Aspergers child achieves the same result by withdrawing and by passionately incorporating in his universe only one or two people and one or two subjects of interest. Both narcissists and Aspergers children are prone to react with depression to perceived slights and injuries - but Aspergers children are far more at risk of self-harm and suicide.

3. The use of language

Children with most personality disorders are skilled communicators and manipulators of language. In some personality disorders (Antisocial, Narcissistic, Histrionic, Paranoid) the child’s linguistic skills far surpass the average. The narcissist, for instance, hones language as an instrument and uses it to obtain Narcissistic Supply or as a weapon to obliterate his "enemies" and discarded sources with. Cerebral narcissists actually derive Narcissistic Supply from the consummate use they make of their innate loquaciousness.

In contrast, the Aspergers child, though verbose at times (and taciturn on other occasions) has a far more limited range of tediously repetitive topics. Youngsters with Aspergers fail to observe conversational rules and etiquette (for instance, let others speak in turn). The Aspergers child is unaware and, therefore, unable to decipher body language and external social and nonverbal cues and gestures. He is incapable of monitoring his own misbehavior. Psychopaths, narcissists, borderlines, schizotypals, histrionics, paranoids, and schizoids are similarly inconsiderate - but they control their behavior and are fully cognizant of reactions by others. They simply choose to ignore these data.

My Aspergers Child: How to Prevent Meltdowns & Tantrums in Aspergers Children


Parenting Aspergers Children - Support Group said...

Deborah NapolitanoAust Were can I go to get my child test for Aspergers.every were I call they tell me they can't help. I feel I'm stuck at a dead END!!!!!!!!
3 hours ago · Like

Caroline Britt Where are you at Deborah?
3 hours ago · Like
Parenting Aspergers Children - Support Group Do you have a local mental health facility? Maybe located at your local hospital.
3 hours ago · Like

Deborah NapolitanoAust I love in Staten Island, New york
2 hours ago · Like

Katey Meyerhoff Had numerous play activies with clinical phycologists and my son,the ados test and soon the wisk test !! this is all for a diagnosis for aspergers,they are also going into my school end of this week,I live in the uk.kate
about an hour ago · Like

Deborah NapolitanoAust I had the ( WISC-IV ) ,(NEPSY), (WIAT ) they all came very low
about an hour ago · Like

Anonymous said...

I live in staten island too! My son was just diagnosed over the summer. I was able to get him evaluated at institute for basic research( IBR ) & I know staten island mental health does evaluations too. This is all new to me, but if you want me to try & get you more info let me know.

Hannah Mulligan said...

Hello, my friend has been told his whole life that he has autism but meaning Aspergers, I learned that autistism is actually very different than Aspergers and autism revolves around not being able to learn meanwhile Aspergers is just a disorder meaning you cannot connect or feel with others. I realized I do not think my friend has Aspergers, he solializes perfectly with me, there are times he does not pick up social cues but he is still a very caring person and generally knows when something is wrong or right. I believe he has severe OCD, and anxiety because he gets so anxious he stutors and cannot talk and I think he had anger management as a child because he has every single sign in these disorders (not anger now... but still self harm when in upsetting situations in front of other people like he will bite himself and then say I bite myself when i'm upset, I know he does this for attention and it probably gets him attention at home, but when hes with me I don't pay attention to it so he doesn't do it really like he would at home, I think this was taught to him)I tried to tell him that he has OCD and he would not believe me but actually got offended, then later proceeded to tell me when he was getting diagnosed they had no idea if he had Aspergers or OCD, they actually had to decide upon it. His whole life he has been told everything he does is because of a disorder and that there isn't anything you can do and that basically that's just the way he is and I don't believe that to be true because he cares about others when he wants to. He only does what he does for attention because he did not get enough at home.

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the Aspergers child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

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How to Prevent Meltdowns in Aspergers Children

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and the Asperger’s child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

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Parenting Defiant Aspergers Teens

Although Aspergers is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager with Aspergers are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the Aspergers teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

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Older Teens and Young Adult Children With Aspergers Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with Aspergers face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

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Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

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Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

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My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content