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Asperger's Checklist: The Signs and Symptoms of Asperger Disorder

written by: Cheryl Gabbert • edited by: jen2008 • updated: 1/16/2011

Looking for an easy guide to the characteristics of Asperger's Disorder? Here you'll find an Asperger's checklist that outlines the symptoms and characteristics of children with Asperger's. From fine motor to social skills, these are the common symptoms you'll find prevalent with this disorder.

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    A Quick Guide to the Characteristics of Asperger Disorder

    This guide is not exhaustive, but does identify the most commonly noted characteristics seen in Asperger Disorder. This Asperger's checklist is grouped according to the basic areas of development: social-emotional, self help, fine motor, gross motor, and cognitive. You'll find specific characteristics that are common in each of these areas. Children with Asperger Disorder may not show all of these characteristics, but will display a combination of them.

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    Social-Emotional Skills

    Children with Asperger Disorder display social-emotional delays across the board. Here are some of the more common challenges that have been observed:

    • Does not engage in pretend play activities
    • Child prefers to avoid eye contact with adults and peers
    • May speak in a monotone voice
    • Prefers to do all the talking, doesn't listen very well
    • Child may talk a lot about a particular area of interest
    • Doesn't understand jokes and sarcasm very well
    • Frequently resorts to playing alone, unable to make and keep friends
    • Does not adhere to the rules of play, or doesn't understand them
    • Lack of empathy for others
    • Child has problems reading people's faces
    • Problems with all types of nonverbal communication
    • Wants to make friends, even though it's difficult
    • Child may interact more with adults than with other children
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    Motor Skills

    While a lack of social skills is often the most commonly exhibited symptom of Asperger Disorder, both gross and fine motor skills can also be affected. Here are some of the most common symptoms:

    Gross Motor Skills

    • Overall clumsiness and lack of coordination
    • Strange gait
    • Problems learning to ride a bike or scooter
    • Doesn't excel in sports
    • Problems learning to skate
    • Trouble learning to tie shoes

    Fine Motor Skills

    • Poor handwriting, sometimes illegible
    • Late to learn how to eat with utensils
    • Prefers not to color, and does not color within lines
    • Overall delay in fine motor development
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    Cognitive Skills

    Children with Asperger Disorder may be above average in cognitive development, although there are some characteristics these children share in this area. Some of the most common include:

    • Large vocabulary
    • Learns to read at a young age
    • Narrow areas of interest, to the point of obsession in that specific area
    • Very good with facts, dates, and numbers in some cases, without really understanding underlying concepts
    • Strictly adheres to routines, and is very inflexible when faced with altered schedule

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    Sensory Issues

    Sensory issues may be apparent in children with Asperger Disorder. Here are some sensory issues to watch out for:

    • Child may be extremely sensitive to noises. May cry and hold ears when around loud noises
    • May want all tags removed from child's clothing
    • Very limited diet. Child may eat only certain foods, refusing to try new ones.
    • Child may not enjoy activities like swimming or getting wet.

    This Asperger's checklist will assist parents or teachers in identifying the symptoms frequently present in children with this condition. Having a few of these symptoms does not necessarily mean a child has Asperger Disorder, but it may warrant further screening.

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    Resources

    1. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/asperger/detail_asperger.htm

    2. National Alliance on Mental Illness: http://www.nami.org/Content/ContentGroups/Helpline1/Asperger_Syndrome.htm