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Aspergers Checklist: Does Your Child Have Aspergers?

There is a certain set of symptoms common to Asperger’s Syndrome (high functioning autism). However, each case of Asperger’s Syndrome is unique and not everyone experiences the same combination of symptoms. Here is a checklist to help you identify Asperger’s symptoms:

Social Interaction Difficulties—

A child with Asperger’s Syndrome may have difficulty with the following aspects of social interaction:

• Difficulty playing with others: She may not understand how to initiate play with her peers or how to play by common social rules. For example, she may take a ball from a group of kids playing a game without asking to join the game first. She will not return the ball if they ask for the ball back because she does not understand the negative reaction.

• General social skills: She wants to socialize with others but does not understand how to interact.

• Inability to understand common social cues: She may not comprehend common social cues such as facial expressions, body language or gestures.

• Inappropriate responses: She may behave or respond to social situations in an unusual or inappropriate manner. For example, an affected person may laugh at something sad.

• Problems with two-way conversation: She has trouble with initiating and maintaining a two-way conversation. She may appear to talk at someone than with them. Conversation topics may focus on an obsessive interest. She speaks inappropriately such as talking too loudly or softly.

• Relating to others: She does not understand other's emotions or social responses accurately in a group situation. She may not understand if an activity or conversation is boring or upsetting to another person.

• Rigid range of interests for social interaction: She will only engage in a narrow range of activities or talk about certain subjects.

Communication Problems—

An affected child experiences a number of communication difficulties. Communication problems can include the following symptoms:

• Easily distracted: He has trouble concentrating his attention on people and objects that are not connected with his favorite subjects.

• Eye contact: He may not make eye contact.

• Facial expression: Facial expressions are either absent or inappropriate to the conversation or situation. He may have facial tics.

• Monotone speech: He may speak in a monotone voice, without expression or emotion.

• Personal space issues: He might stand too close to a person during conversation.

• Unusual gestures: He might make unusual or inappropriate gestures during conversation.

Language Skill Challenges—

A child with Asperger’s Syndrome generally has a large vocabulary but experiences problems with language processing. Language skills challenges may include:

• Difficulty processing language: She does not always understand the verbal speech of others or misunderstands the meaning of a conversation. She may have trouble making a decision or answering a question.

• Language rituals: She might have certain word scripts that she repeats ritualistically in conversation with others.

• Literal interpretation of words: She interprets most language on a literal level and misses abstract meanings.

• Trouble with language use: She has trouble using language appropriately in social situations. She may also misunderstand common word meanings.

• Unusual use of words: She may use words in an unusual way or create her own words.

Cognitive and Motor Skill Impairments—

Cognitive and motor skill problems are also common in children with Asperger’s Syndrome. Typical cognitive and motor skill issues include:

• Difficulty with imaginative play: He does not engage in imaginative play as a youngster.

• Learns best visually: He has trouble learning without visual aids.

• Mindblindness: He has mindblindness, meaning he cannot determine what others are thinking and feeling in social situations or in relationships.

• Organizational skills difficulties: He experiences difficulty with planning, implementing and completing tasks.

• Problems with coordination: He may have problems with both fine and gross motor skills. Common examples of motor skill difficulty include bike riding, handwriting and playing ball games.

• Problem-solving issues: He has trouble figuring out how to solve problems outside of his routine.

Limited Interests and Unusual Behavior—

An affected child often has a limited range of interest and may exhibit bizarre behavior. Interests and behavior may include:

• Narrow range of interests and obsessions: She is intensely interested in a small number of activities and subjects and refuses to engage in other activities.

• Self-stimulatory behavior: She may engage in stimming behavior such as hand flapping, rocking back and forth or twirling.

• Strict schedule: She prefers a rigid schedule and experiences anxiety when the schedule is interrupted.

Sensory Input Issues—

Many children with Asperger’s Syndrome have sensory difficulties and may have unusual reactions to certain sights, smells, sounds or tastes. Sensory problems include:

• Limited food choices: He may choose and reject foods based upon smell or texture.

• Odors: He may react strongly to certain smells.

• Sounds: He might be hypersensitive to different sounds.

• Touch: He may not want to be touched.

Autistic Traits In Adults: Online Test

The Autism-Spectrum Quotient, or AQ, is a measure of the extent of autistic traits in adults. 

Definitely agree Slightly agree Slightly disagree Definitely disagree
1 I prefer to do things with others rather than on my own.
2 I prefer to do things the same way over and over again.
3 If I try to imagine something, I find it very easy to create a picture in my mind.
4 I frequently get so strongly absorbed in one thing that I lose sight of other things.
5 I often notice small sounds when others do not.
6 I usually notice car number plates or similar strings of information.
7 Other people frequently tell me that what I've said is impolite, even though I think it is polite.
8 When I'm reading a story, I can easily imagine what the characters might look like.
9 I am fascinated by dates.
10 In a social group, I can easily keep track of several different people's conversations.
11 I find social situations easy.
12 I tend to notice details that others do not.
13 I would rather go to a library than to a party.
14 I find making up stories easy.
15 I find myself drawn more strongly to people than to things.
16 I tend to have very strong interests, which I get upset about if I can't pursue.
17 I enjoy social chitchat.
18 When I talk, it isn't always easy for others to get a word in edgewise.
19 I am fascinated by numbers.
20 When I'm reading a story, I find it difficult to work out the characters' intentions.
21 I don't particularly enjoy reading fiction.
22 I find it hard to make new friends.
23 I notice patterns in things all the time.
24 I would rather go to the theater than to a museum.
25 It does not upset me if my daily routine is disturbed.
26 I frequently find that I don't know how to keep a conversation going.
27 I find it easy to 'read between the lines' when someone is talking to me.
28 I usually concentrate more on the whole picture, rather than on the small details.
29 I am not very good at remembering phone numbers.
30 I don't usually notice small changes in a situation or a person's appearance.
31 I know how to tell if someone listening to me is getting bored.
32 I find it easy to do more than one thing at once.
33 When I talk on the phone, I'm not sure when it's my turn to speak.
34 I enjoy doing things spontaneously.
35 I am often the last to understand the point of a joke.
36 I find it easy to work out what someone is thinking or feeling just by looking at their face.
37 If there is an interruption, I can switch back to what I was doing very quickly.
38 I am good at social chitchat.
39 People often tell me that I keep going on and on about the same thing.
40 When I was young, I used to enjoy playing games involving pretending with other children.
41 I like to collect information about categories of things (e.g., types of cars, birds, trains, plants).
42 I find it difficult to imagine what it would be like to be someone else.
43 I like to carefully plan any activities I participate in.
44 I enjoy social occasions.
45 I find it difficult to work out people's intentions.
46 New situations make me anxious.
47 I enjoy meeting new people.
48 I am a good diplomat.
49 I am not very good at remembering people's date of birth.
50 I find it very easy to play games with children that involve pretending.

How to score: 

"Definitely agree" or "Slightly agree" responses to questions 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12, 13, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 33, 35, 39, 41, 42, 43, 45, 46 score 1 point

"Definitely disagree" or "Slightly disagree" responses to questions 1, 3, 8, 10, 11, 14, 15, 17, 24, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 34, 36, 37, 38, 40, 44, 47, 48, 49, 50 score 1 point

In the first major trial using the test, the average score in the control group was 16.4. Eighty percent of those diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher. The test is not a means for making a diagnosis, however, and many who score above 32 and even meet the diagnostic criteria for mild autism or Asperger's report no difficulty functioning in their everyday lives. 

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