Asperger’s syndrome is a form of autism. It is more common in boys than in girls and is usually diagnosed after the age of four. Asperger’s syndrome is characterized by difficult social interaction, such as lack of or reduced empathy and lack of understanding of emotional messages such as friends, sadness, anger or resentment.
It also leads to repetitive, compulsive behavior. This is characterised, for example, by a strict, always the same daily routine or stereotypical playing with always the same course of action. Children with Asperger’s syndrome often have a special talent.
They have an above-average command of this talent and are very precise in carrying out their activities. Children with Asperger’s syndrome are often diagnosed with a high IQ compared to their peers. Asperger’s syndrome can be associated with other mental illnesses. These most commonly include depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders, tic disorders or schizophrenia.
According to the current state of science, genetic factors are at the forefront of the causes of Asperger’s syndrome, as with all other forms of autism. This means that Asperger’s syndrome is hereditary. It has been proven that siblings of a child with Asperger’s syndrome have an increased risk of contracting the same disease.
It can also be inherited from the father or mother. Environmental factors are also being discussed, although there are no reliable results from studies to date. For a long time it was a misbelief that the mumps vaccination was the cause of autism.
This assumption has long been refuted in scientific studies. So there is no connection. In imaging procedures such as the MRI, brain structural changes were found to be more common.
The diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome is a diagnosis of exclusion. This means that other mental illnesses and developmental disorders must be excluded in order to make a diagnosis. The diagnosis is made on the basis of clinical symptoms.
An important diagnostic criterion is the age of the child. Asperger’s syndrome is diagnosed after the age of four. If the child shows abnormalities before this time, it is usually a form of early childhood autism, but with different symptoms than Asperger’s syndrome.
Asperger’s syndrome is characterized by an above-average talent for language that is appropriate for the age of the child and which comes to light in a conversation with a doctor or psychologist. A lack of empathy and misunderstanding of other people’s emotions can be detected in everyday life when dealing with other people, and can also be diagnosed by a so-called face test. This is the recognition of emotions on pictures. Motor clumsiness and gross motor skills can be diagnosed by specific tests of coordination and mobility.