Search This Site


Test Your Knowledge of Asperger’s Syndrome

Listed below are the three main categories of impairments in Aspergers. Under each category are several possible characteristics. Indicate with a Yes or No whether each characteristic listed is indicative of Aspergers.

1. Impairment in Social Interaction:
a. Odd facial expressions
b. Difficulty judging social distance
c. Overly friendly
d. Inappropriate responses to approaches of others

2. Impairment in Communication:
a. Inappropriate questions/comments
b. May be non-verbal
c. Good at thinking abstractly
d. Delay in development of language

3. Restricted and/or Repetitive Patterns of Behavior, Interests and Activities:
a. Inflexibility regarding routines
b. Severe self-abuse
c. Stereotyped motor mannerisms
d. Little to interest them

Aspergers or Not?

Below are three vignettes, each describing an individual with certain difficulties. Indicate whether you believe the paragraph describes an individual with Aspergers.

Charlie was a boy in his mid-teens. He attended a school for students with special needs. He was verbal, but at times difficult to understand, partly because of his articulation and partly because his sentences were often constructed incorrectly. He rarely initiated conversations, unless to talk about his interest in movies. He was not particularly interested in his peers, although it did not seem to matter to him that he had no real friends. He was fairly accomplished in math, but was reading at a 3rd grade level at age 14. His full-scale I.Q. was 68.

Robert, a man in his mid-twenties, complained he felt uncomfortable around people. He had decided he had Aspergers. He worked as an accountant and was competent at his job. He did not feel particularly depressed, although complained of feeling anxious when forced to interact with others.

Mark, an eleven year old in the public school system, frequently got into serious trouble with his teachers. He was clearly bright, but often refused to do his work, saying he did not have to if he did not want to. He was a computer whiz, able to fix problems with the computer even his teacher could not solve. In fact, his interest in computers seemed to overshadow nearly all aspects of his life. He tended to interact poorly with other kids, misreading their social cues, and becoming very angry if they tried to interfere with his use of the computer.

Answer Key—

1. Impairment in Social Interaction:
a. Yes
b. Yes
c. No
d. Yes

2. Impairment in Communication:
a. Yes
b. No
c. No
d. No. However, this is somewhat of a trick question. The DSM IV indicates there can be no delay in the development of language to qualify for an Aspergers diagnosis. On the other hand, Attwood indicates a significant percentage of Aspergers kids do have delayed language, although they are speaking fluently by age 5.

3. Restricted and/or Repetitive Patterns of Behavior, Interests and Activities:
a. Yes. Inflexibility can occur in Aspergers, but is not required for the diagnosis. Restricted patterns of behavior, interests and activities, however, are quite common.
b. No. There can sometimes be self-injurious behavior, but severe self-abuse is much more likely to be indicative of autism.
c. Yes. Stereotyped motor mannerisms can occur in Aspergers, although serious problems in this area occur more often in autism.
d. No

Aspergers or Not?

The extent of Charlie’s language difficulties and his cognitive difficulties rule out the diagnosis of Aspergers. A more appropriate diagnosis would be autism, albeit fairly high-functioning.

This case is more complicated. Although Robert may qualify for an Aspergers diagnosis, there is not enough information in the vignette to substantiate this. His feelings of discomfort around people might suggest Aspergers, but they might just as well be indicative of another disorder, such as schizoid personality. Additional information about such issues as his use of language and any problems with perspective taking would help in formulating the diagnosis.

Mark has Aspergers. His refusal to do school work stems from his difficulty recognizing the social rules, i.e., kids are in school to work, as well as his inability to recognize the importance of restraint in his remarks. Computers and computer games are his area of special interest.

No comments:

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

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD 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.

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Children on the Spectrum

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 or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your 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.

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Teens on the Spectrum

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

Click here to read the full article…

Older Teens and Young Adult Children with ASD 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 ASD 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."

Click here to read the full article…

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.

Click here
to read the full article...

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.

Click here for the full article...