Asperger syndrome is a condition which falls within the broad range of autistic symptoms. Although a milder variant of Autism, both are sub-groups of a larger diagnostic category called Autistic Spectrum Disorder or Pervasive Developmental Disorder.

Tony Attwood, in his book Asperger syndrome – A Guide For Parents And Professionals, states that one in six children who suffer from Aspergers, also have clear symptoms of ADHD.

Although the conditions have differences, there are similarities too, and someone can be diagnosed with AS and ADHD, both which require treatment. Hans Asperger, a German doctor, first described the syndrome in 1944, whereby individuals display many idiosyncratic, odd behaviors, such as:
Speech that is stilted and repetitive, even though vocabulary and grammar are good

Egocentric conversation revolving around self.

Obsessions with complex themes such as patterns, history etc.

Being described as eccentric.

Often having dyslexia, problems with writing or difficulty with math.

An apparent lack of common sense.

Asperger’s sufferers have an I.Q. falling along the full spectrum, but unlike classic Autism, they try hard to be sociable, although they find it difficult to understand non-verbal clues, for example facial expressions or tone of voice. They speak fluently, although they can be insensitive to other people’s feelings and reactions. When communicating with others, they take things very literally. Jokes are hard for them to grasp, also metaphors, for example “biting someone’s head off,” “toasting the bride,” or “turn the television over.”

Good at facts and figures, and having very analytical thought, they have difficulty thinking in abstract ways, which can cause problems at school when studying subjects such as literature or religious education.

Children with Asperger’s can get obsessional about certain things, and hobbies. Changes in routine are unsettling for them, for example, sudden alterations to the school timetable, or traveling on a different route. On top of this, they can have motor clumsiness and poor co-ordination.

Research has shown the condition is probably hereditary, and there is no cure. (Asperger children become Asperger adults.) Many families of sufferers report having eccentric, or “odd” relatives. Also, these families often have a history of depression or other disorders. Although there is no prescribed treatment for the condition, many adult sufferers lead productive lives, working in various professions such as computer programming, college professorships, science or the dental profession.

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