Asperger's Syndrome (AS)
Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) ranks as a mild or high-functioning form of autism. Children with Asperger’s Syndrome often develop normally and even early in areas of cognition and language. In addition, a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome often doesn’t occur until the child is in school, well after the age of five. In fact, some people only discover they have Asperger’s Syndrome when they reach adulthood, depending on the mildness or severity of their symptoms.
Similarities to NVLD
Similar to children with Non Verbal Learning Disorder, those with Asperger’s Syndrome typically struggle with proper social skills and behavior. They are unable to differentiate between non verbal cues, and have poor coordination of motor skills. They also often develop at a normal or advanced pace in speech and language, and exhibit above average cognitive development. Children with Asperger’s typically have above-average intelligence and have no problems expressing themselves.
Differences Between AS and NVLD
While the similarities are many between Asperger’s Syndrome and Non Verbal Learning Disorder, a few key differences stand out. Children with Asperger’s Syndrome exhibit less interest in social interaction, to the point that they may seem like loners. They often appear uninterested in developing relationships or returning affection, and lack the ability to express empathy.
In keeping with autistic symptoms, children with Asperger’s Syndrome often become fixated on repetitive behaviors and compulsive organization in keeping their routines, as well as intense focus on discussing a particular topic repeatedly (a behavior known as perseveration).
Another distinction between NVLD and Asperger’s Syndrome is the latter’s impact on a child’s sensory system. Children with Asperger’s Syndrome often experience extreme reactions to sensory stimuli, at opposite ends of the spectrum. They may have either heightened sensitivities, or total insensitivity that sometimes leads to injury when they don’t feel heat or pain.