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Does My Child Have Asperger's?

written by: Samantha Bangayan • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 2/16/2011

Parents who ask themselves, “Does my child have Asperger’s?” have a hunch that there’s something different about their children. Learn what the researchers know about Asperger’s syndrome with this checklist.

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    Does My Child Have Asperger’s?

    Children with Asperger’s often prefer to be alone because they have difficulty in social situations. Hans Asperger first detailed this condition in 1944, independently of autism; nevertheless, it remains a relatively new field of research. Scientists conducted the majority of studies on Asperger’s only within the last 20 years.

    This checklist of typical characteristics of individuals with Asperger’s is based on a meticulous review of all that researchers know about the syndrome to date. People diagnosed with Asperger’s may not exhibit all of the symptoms in this guide. If you suspect that your child may have Asperger’s, consult with a clinician for a formal diagnosis.

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    Social Development

    Individuals with Asperger’s have a hard time building and maintaining relationships. There are various social oddities that distinguish this disorder. An Asperger's child -

    • Often has difficulty learning from other people or in social settings.
    • Displays low social awareness.
    • Has trouble empathizing with others.
    • Is unable to accurately recognize emotions through others’ facial expressions.
    • Dislikes and feels uncomfortable in new social situations.
    • Does not have a sense of humor.
    • Avoids or disengages from social interaction.
    • Exhibits specific, consuming interests, but not with inanimate objects.
    • Is uncomfortable with disruptions or changes to the daily routine.
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    Language Development

    Differences in language development set Asperger’s apart from autism. Individuals with Asperger’s show a distinctive pattern of language use. An Asperger's child -

    • Demonstrates regular early language development, speaking words by 2 years of age, similar to a typically developing child.
    • Lacks nonverbal communication skills, such as eye contact and facial expressions.
    • Uses uncommon adult vocabulary during childhood.
    • Possesses superior writing skills that surpass verbal skills.
    • Employs awkward phrasing, sentence structure and word reasoning in speech.
    • Speaks in a monotone fashion, without rhythm or intonation.
    • Communicates with lengthy sentences.
    • Includes a lot of minor details when speaking.
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    Motor Development

    If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Does my child have Asperger’s?” you may have noticed your child engaging in idiosyncratic movements that are less subtle than other symptoms of the disorder. A few motor peculiarities characterize Asperger’s. An Asperger's child -

    • Displays stereotypical and repetitive movements, such as tapping or body rocking.
    • Takes steps clumsily and awkwardly.
    • Shows difficulty imitating movements, such as tool use.
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    Does My Child Have Asperger's? Other Signs

    There are a number of additional indicators, unrelated to developmental patterns that may contribute to a diagnosis of Asperger’s. An Asperger's child -

    • Has an average IQ or higher, as measured by a clinical psychologist.
    • Gradually shows more symptoms and symptom severity during the elementary school years.
    • Likely born when his or her mother was over 30 years old.
    • Usually attends regular classes, not special education classes.
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    References

    • Matson, Johnny L., et al. "Nosology and Diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome." Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. 2008.
    • Radunovich, Heidi Liss, et al. "Asperger’s Disorder." University of Florida Electronic Data Information Source, 2007.
      (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy999)
    • Image Credit: taylorschlades, http://mrg.bz/0OFZwp