Symptoms and causes of Asperger syndrome

Asperger syndrome Symptoms and causes

This syndrome in the past was characterized as a distinct autism spectrum disorder (others incluce childhood disintegrative disorder, Rett syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified [PDD – NOS]) but the Asperger syndrome was considered to be at the milder or higher – functioning range of this spectrum. It is also known as Asperger disorder. It is one of a group of neurodevelopmental disorders which have effects on the individual’s behavior, pattern of social interactions and use of language and communication. The autistic disorder and Asperger syndrome have been combined into one condition for diagnostic purposes which are also known as autism spectrum disorder [1]. There are many experts and doctors who say that this syndrome should be protected as a separate diagnostic entity because in this way it will represent the condition which is related to but it is not the same condition and that it autism. It is not similar with people who suffer from autistic disorders because people who suffer from Asperger syndrome do not show a marked delay in the language development or in their cognitive development. This syndrome is commonly recognized in children after the age of three years. Also it is more frequently diagnosed in boys [2]. Those people who suffer from Asperger syndrome have serious impairments in their social and communicational skills in which is included the poor nonverbal communication. But there are many people who have good cognitive and verbal skills. Those people who have Asperger syndrome typically have normal to superior intelligence. Many people diagnosed with this condition have excellent rote memory and they become intensely interested in one or 2 subjects. It is known that children with Asperger syndrome are typically educated in the mainstream setting but in some cases, it can require special education services or education accommodations. These children have difficulties to make friends and they are often bullied, teased or ostracized by their peers. Dr. Hans Asperger is an Austrian pediatrician and he first have described this condition in 1944 and his name is used for the name of this syndrome.

Asperger syndrome Symptoms and causes

Symptoms: It is known that the symptoms and level of functioning of the affected person can range from mild to severe. The affected person can have all or only some of the described characteristics. They can exhibit more problems in unstructured social settings or new situations which are involving social problem – solving skills.

  1. Social problems [3]:
  • Rigid social behavior that is caused by the inability to spontaneous adapt to variations to social situations
  • Difficulty understanding other’s feelings or showing empathy
  • Difficulty judging personal space
  • There can be a lack of understanding of age appropriate social cues including gestures and nonverbal communication
  • Socially inappropriate behavior for their age
  • Children who are affected with Asperger syndrome may express an interest in friendships but they have difficulty in making and keeping friends and they can be rejected by peers. In many cases, these children are loving and affectionate with their immediate family.
  1. Abnormal communication patterns:
  • Lack of sensitivity about interrupting others
  • Difficulty with “give and take” of conversation
  • Conversation style characterized by marked wordiness
  • Speech may be circumstantial (giving significantly excessive detail about a topic) and tangential (consisting of unconnected topics) and often including irrelevant comments
  • In some cases there are impairments in the modulation of volume, intonation, inflection, rate and rhythm of speech
  • Unusual, formal style of speaking
  1. Activities [4]:
  • Apprehensive about change, may have difficulty transitioning from one activity to other
  • Intense interest in a particular, often very restricted or immature subject that dominates the individual’s attention
  1. Sensory sensitivity in some individuals with Asperger syndrome:
  • Excessive sensitivity to the texture of foods
  • Excessive sensitivity to sound, touch, taste, light, sight, smell, pain and/or temperature

Asperger syndrome Symptoms and causes

Asperger syndrome Symptoms and causes

Causes: The cause for the Asperger syndrome is not known. In some studies are said that genetic components can play a role in it because it has been observed that it runs in families [5]. Also environmental influences play a role in it. There are some people who think that vaccines and the preservatives in vaccines can play a role in the development of this syndrome and other autism spectrum disorders. Boys have more chances to get Asperger syndrome compared to girls. The Asperger syndrome is 5 times more common in boys.


[1] Duffy FH, Shankardass A, McAnulty GB, Als H. The relationship of Asperger’s syndrome to autism: a preliminary EEG coherence study. BMC Medicine. 2013;11:175.

[2] Roy M, Dillo W, Emrich HM, Ohlmeier MD. Asperger’s syndrome in adulthood. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International. 2009;106(5):59–64.

[3] Goddard L, Howlin P, Dritschel B, Patel T. Autobiographical memory and social problem-solving in Asperger syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 2007;37(2):291-300.

[4] Allen D, Evans C, Hider A, et al. Offending behaviour in adults with Asperger syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 2008;38:748-58.

[5] Warrier V, Baron-Cohen S, Chakrabarti B. Genetic variation in GABRB3 is associated with Asperger syndrome and multiple endophenotypes relevant to autism. Molecular Autism. 2013;48(4).


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