Aspergers in Adults

Aspergers does not only occur in kids and teens, but is also diagnosed in adults.

The causes of Aspergers have not yet been fully clarified, although a genetic component is likely. To make the diagnosis, tests are performed to assess social ability, fluctuations in attention, attention to detail, communication, and fantasy.

Although Aspergers has often been considered a disorder, it may be better to describe it as a personality style because of the fact that the people who have it tend to be social loners.

Adults with Aspergers can have a variety of characteristics, some of the more common ones include:

• A-rhythmic speech or abnormal speech rhythm
• Average or above-average intelligence
• Can sometimes appear to have an inappropriate, immature or delayed understanding of sexual codes of conduct
• Clumsy or exaggerated gestures when talking
• Difficulty with high-level language skills (reasoning, problem solving, being too literal)
• Difficulty with social communication
• Difficulty with social interaction
• Diminished empathy for others
• Extreme focus on a particular interest or hobby
• Facial expressions are flat
• Flat or monotonous voice
• Great attention to detail
• Has one-sided eating habits
• Having a hard time reading other people or understanding humor and metaphorical use of language
• Highly sensitive to criticism
• Inability to see another person's point of view
• Lack of emotional control, particularly with anger, depression, and anxiety
• Lack of empathy
• Lack of social imagination
• Lacks "common sense"
• Lacks sensitivity to nonverbal cues and social codes
• Little or no facial expression
• Love for routines
• May experience difficulties in partnership
• May live a withdrawn life
• Motor clumsiness
• Neurotic habits or tics
• Not emotional
• Not taken seriously or misunderstood in face-to-face situations
• Not well able to read another's facial expression
• Oversensitive to particular sounds
• Perfectionist
• Problems engaging in "small talk"
• Problems with distribution of responsibilities especially in a marriage
• Rigid day or week schedule (repetitive patterns)
• Rigid social behavior because of an inability to spontaneously adapt to a myriad of social situations
• Skeptical and reluctant to change, may have difficulty changing from one activity to another
• Strict adherence to routines which can lead to anxiety when something unexpected happens
• Strong interest in arcane subjects (either scientific, occult or trivial)
• Talks too much – or talks too little
• Tends to avoid eye contact
• Verbal expression can appear to be highly sophisticated
• Very honest

Treatment for Aspergers coordinates therapies that address core symptoms of the disorder, including poor communication skills and obsessive or repetitive routines. While most clinicians agree that the earlier the intervention, the better, there is no single best treatment package. Aspergers treatment resembles that of other high-functioning ASDs, except that it takes into account the linguistic capabilities, verbal strengths, and nonverbal vulnerabilities. A typical program generally includes:
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy to improve stress management relating to anxiety or explosive emotions, and to cut back on obsessive interests and repetitive routines
  • Medication, for coexisting conditions such as major depressive disorder and anxiety disorder
  • Occupational or physical therapy to assist with poor sensory integration and motor coordination
  • Social communication intervention, which is specialized speech therapy to help with the pragmatics of the give and take of normal conversation
  • The training of social skills for more effective interpersonal interactions
There is some evidence that as many as 20% of children with Aspergers "grow out" of it, and fail to meet the diagnostic criteria as adults.

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