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Essential Facts about Asperger's Syndrome in Children

written by: sharscott • edited by: Linda Richter • updated: 3/22/2011

Asperger's syndrome affects 1 in 250 children. Read these compelling facts about this autism spectrum disorder.

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    7 Basic Facts about Asperger's Syndrome Kids

    • Asperger's is a form of autism.

    The term Asperger's was first used in the 1980s by psychiatrist Lorna Wing to describe children she saw in her practice who had normal intelligence but severe social and communication deficits. Although some people don't believe Asperger's should be classified as a form of autism, researchers familiar with Asperger's syndrome in children have noted affected kids share some characteristics and symptoms associated with classic autism.

    • Asperger's syndrome occurs less often than classic autism.

    Data shows that Asperger's is found in 1 in 250 children. Classic autism occurs in 1 in 110 children. In the last decade there appears to be a dramatic rise in the number of autism cases. Some experts claim the rise is related to better diagnostic and evaluation tools rather than an actual increase in the disorder in the general population.

    • Children with Asperger's are rarely enrolled in special education classes.

    Because they are able to hold their own academically, most Asperger's students can remain in general education classrooms. Conversely, their parents also have greater difficulty getting their children essential special education services such as speech or occupational therapy because they are not considered “disabled or severely impaired” enough in order to qualify for traditional autism intervention services.

    • Asperger's syndrome in children is often missed or misdiagnosed.

    Asperger’s children typically experience no language or speech delays. It is usually their withdrawal or isolation from other children that cause their parents to seek an evaluation. Asperger’s syndrome in children usually presents itself around the age or 3 or later when a child begins formal schooling. Asperger’s has been misdiagnosed as schizoid personality disorder, anxiety, OCD and other mental disorders because of some similarities of symptoms.

    • Asperger’s kids can develop an emotional attachment.

    One of the biggest myths about Asperger’s and autism in general is that children who suffer from the condition cannot form loving bonds. Many children with Asperger’s enjoy being hugged, kissed and cuddled by their parents and other individuals with whom they have close relationships. They are not emotionally cold.

    • Food sensitivity is common among many Asperger’s children.

    Sensitivity to food can be based on texture, smell, appearance, and even color. Many parents of children with Asperger’s syndrome report their child will refuse to eat foods based on some of the criteria listed above. Interestingly, some research has connected autism with digestive issues. In response several diets have been developed to address food sensitivity among ASD children (i.e. gluten-free or casein-free diets).

    • Many Aperger’s children will develop an almost compulsive interest in unusual or strange topics.

    For reasons known only to them, many children with Asperger’s Syndrome enjoy collecting endless facts about topics that few people are interested in. These children can memorize and store volumes worth of information on a subject they are keenly interested in. Sadly, they fail to realize that few people share their interest or want to hear them spend hours talking about their favorite subject.

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    Appreciation for Children with Asperger’s

    Children with Asperger’s syndrome realize early in life they are different from their peers. They recognize that they don’t share the typical interests of children their own age. Often they prefer to be with adults because their mindset and likes mirror those of adults more than children.

    The key for parents of Asperger’s children is to help them find ways to engage more with others while at the same time acknowledging their kids are different. A label of Asperger’s should not be used to limit a child. It should be used to help others know how to better interact with him or her

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    Sources:

    Attwood, Tony The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2006.

    The Autism Society of America Asperger's Syndrome (http://www.autism-society.org/about-autism/aspergers-syndrome/)1996-2011.

    The Mayo Clinic Staff Asperger's Syndrome: Symptoms, (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/aspergers-syndrome/DS00551/DSECTION=symptoms) November 18,2010.

    CureResearch.com Misdiagnosis of Asperger Syndrome (http://www.cureresearch.com/a/asperger_syndrome/misdiag.htm)