This site is dedicated to my son who was diagnosed with Aspergers 5 days before his 8th birthday. I hope it serves as a great resource quide for parents, grandparents, teachers, principals and friends searching for answers about this puzzling condition that we all have so many questions about. Feel free to use this site to help educate your child’s school about Aspergers Syndrome. I remember the day my son was diagnosed with asbergers syndrome. I had no idea what asbergers syndrome was. In fact I did not even know how to spell it. For those of you that caught the misspelling, it is properly spelled aspergers syndrome. These two asperger videos were the best examples I could find of somebody articulating what it is like living with Asperger’s Syndrome. These two young men did a fantastic job.
Is Aspergers Genetic? An Overview of its Facts and Causes
Aspergers Syndrome or Aspergers is a particular type of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) where one faces difficulty in communication and social interaction, and indulges in repetitive behavioral patterns and activities. In spite of years of research and study, scientists have not been able to figure out the exact cause of this condition. But based on observation and diagnosis of different types of cases, doctors, and even family members of the patient, have often asked the question: Is Aspergers genetic?
What makes it so difficult to pinpoint the cause of Aspergers is its elusiveness and its manifestation in multiple ways in different people. Hence, physicians initially find it difficult to categorize it as a behavioral problem, psychological disorder or a neurodevelopment problem, which makes it tough to suggest an effective treatment. Research has indicated that there is a strong chance that Aspergers may have a genetic basis. But in order to answer the question – Is Aspergers Genetic – we must first take a closer look at the various characteristics of the disorder.
All ASDs are complex neurodevelopment illnesses which can be present from a very young age, as young as two years old. But what distinguishes Aspergers from any other ASD is that the person has relatively less problems in terms of cognitive and linguistic development. However, he does display a peculiar use of language, like using codes, and shows limited empathy when interacting with others in a social setting. So is Aspergers genetic and are there greater chances of it occurring if someone in the family already suffers from this condition?
Researchers have been trying to find out a genetic etiology or cause as far as Aspergers is concerned. Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger, after whom this condition is named due to his extensive analysis and diagnosis of the illness among children, observed that there were many similarities in symptoms between the child and his family members, especially his father, or if the child has a twin sibling.
Subsequent studies have shown that in most cases there is a higher tendency of Aspergers in families, who display the characteristic behavioral patterns in varying degrees, like problems in reading or speaking or a lack of social skills, which indicates an inherited genetic mutation or variation. Moreover, all ASDs share some genetic systems, which is more prominent in Aspergers. It is widely accepted in the medical community that an allele, that is, an alternative form of a gene, or a group of alleles makes a person particularly vulnerable to this illness. Hence, along with neurological analysis, proper genetic assessment is a crucial part of diagnosing Aspergers.
We can conclude our discussion on the topic Is Aspergers Genetic by saying that although no specific gene has yet been discovered to directly cause this condition, there is a strong likelihood that a variation, mutation, combination or deletion of a gene or group of genes, along with the influence of certain environmental factors, increases the chances of the development of this disorder in some people. Through timely evaluation, physical, speech and cognitive behavioral therapy and support of the family, people with Aspergers can also live a reasonably normal life.
5 Famous People With Autism
Autism is a condition that affects the brain and the senses, this is why people who are on the autistic spectrum suffer from sensory issues and they have trouble with social interactions. Did you know that approximately one in 100 children is diagnosed with autism? This is what makes this condition a commonly debated topic nowadays – however, there are numerous celebrities, scientists and other famous people who have autism and still managed to achieve success. Here you will find a list of the top 5 most famous people with autism:
1. Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein is by far one of the most famous people with autism, and his condition was never a secret. This did not prevent him from being one of the most renowned and respected theoretical physicists of all time. Einstein found it very difficult to interact with other people, he had difficulty learning in school and he had tactile sensitivity as well. However, he was an extremely intelligent man who had a lot of ideas despite the fact that he had trouble finding his words at times.
2. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Unlike Einstein who suffered from tactile sensitivity, Mozart suffered from a form of hearing sensitivity and loud noises made him feel physically sick. Moreover, Mozart was also known for being excessively active and records even show an unintentional motion of his hands along with repeated facial expressions. These and several other signs such as the inability to carry on a long, intellectual conversation and the fact that he had frequent mood changes indicate that Mozart suffered from autism.
3. Daryl Hannah
Known mostly for her role in the well-known movie Kill Bill, Daryl Hannah suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome. She has always been extremely shy and found it incredibly difficult to go to talk shows or premiers. At one point. Daryl Hannah even admitted that her condition almost ruined her entire career as an actress because she was unable to engage in many social situations.
4. Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin also suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome, which is related to originality and creativity. Even though he had an extraordinary attention to small details, Charles Darwin had severe difficulties with social interactions and he displayed various other autistic behaviors. Darwin grew up as a solitary child and he was emotionally immature as well, this immaturity extending to his adulthood as well. However, the fact that he suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome did not prevent him from writing “On The Origin Of Species”, a book that is still highly controversial even now, 150 years after it was published.
5. Temple Grandin
No list of famous people with autism is complete without mentioning Dr. Grandin, who is an author and doctor of animal science, as well as a noted autistic. As a matter of fact, Temple Grandin is a respected autism activist and she even has an official website dedicated to autism where she shares her personal story. In addition to this, Dr. Grandin speaks at autism conferences and she has even written several books about her condition.
To sum it up, these are 5 of the most famous people with autism who did not let their condition interfere with their dreams. They managed to achieve success and world recognition, despite being autistic.
Do I Have Aspergers?
There has been a lot of discussion in the news media recently about Aspergers Syndrome. This has prompted many people who identify with at least some of the symptoms to ask, “Do I have Aspergers?” While a self-diagnosis is certainly no substitute for a formal professional analysis, it can be helpful to look for certain symptoms that are common to those who have Aspergers Syndrome, several of which are listed below. However, it should be noted before you read through the list below that some people with Aspergers Syndrome do not have all of the symptoms below nor does it mean you have Aspergers Syndrome if you do have some of the symptoms. Here are some of the common symptoms:
1. Difficulties with social skills and interpersonal communication
2. Having an obsessive interest in esoteric subjects
3. Difficulty looking people straight in the eye or does so awkwardly
4. May prefer a rigid routine or have precise ways of doing things like eating certain foods on certain days
5. May exhibit self-stimming: repetitive self soothing behavior like bouncing one’s foot or knee or rocking with this having a calming effect
6. Tendency to have long-winded one-sided conversations and not notice that the other person wants to change the subject
7. Lower than normal empathy or no empathy
8. Has trouble reading facial expressions and body language
9. Unusual and/or awkward body movements and walking gait
10. May be uncoordinated and/or clumsy
11. May speak in a monotone and/or an unusual voice and/or speak at an unusual volume.
12. Extreme sensitivity to noise
13. Extreme sensitivity to light
14. Particular about textures in food
When asking yourself, “Do I have Aspergers,” it is important to understand the difference between having some of the symptoms typically associated with Aspergers and actually having these symptoms to the extent that they rise to the level of a clinical diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome. This is condition that falls on a spectrum and some people just share a few symptoms and they are mild enough that they do not significantly impact their life while others may have many of the symptoms and they may be so severe they significantly impact their life. Others may fall somewhere in the middle of this and may be considered to have borderline Aspergers.
When someone asks a psychologist or a psychiatrist, “Do I have Aspergers?” the doctor will typically evaluate the person using the criteria that has been established by the professional mental health community. These criteria are published in a manual called the, “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” now in its fifth edition and abbreviated as the DSM.
One should always keep in mind that one doctor’s interpretation of the criteria for Aspergers Syndrome in the DSM will differ at least a little and sometimes a lot from another doctor’s interpretation. Therefore, it is quite common for some people to be diagnosed as not having Aspergers by one doctor and having Aspergers by another doctor. This is especially true for those with borderline or mild Aspergers which seem to be the majority of cases.
Some adults who have Aspergers may have never asked, “Do I have Aspergers?” until their child or another young relative is diagnosed with it. This usually happens because a teacher or school counsellor noticed unusual behavior in the child. As adults start to research Aspergers in an effort to help the child, they may begin to notice that they have some of the same symptoms. It is typically a relief to finally understand why they are a bit different.
Autism spectrum disorder is a concept that developed due to the various ways autism manifests. Symptoms and traits in autism vary among children. All types of autism affect three basic areas: communication, behavior, and socialization. Aspergers syndrome is one of the many autism spectrum disorders, and it is generally considered the “mildest” form of autism. And as with any type of autism, there are certain Aspergers Syndrome traits that help make it distinguishable from another form of autism.
Because it is considered a “high functioning” form of autism, in the past, Aspergers Syndrome was often misdiagnosed. Obsessive-Compulsive disorder, Schizoid Personality, and various types of Attention Deficit Disorders were labels often incorrectly given to children with Aspergers Syndrome. It wasn’t until 1944 that a Viennese pediatrician and psychologist, Dr. Hans Asperger, who first wrote about Aspergers Syndrome Traits in an article published in German. It is estimated he studied around 400 children at the time, following one boy in particular in to adulthood. As a child, the boy had noticed an error in Newton’s work. When he became an adult and professor of Astronomy, he solved it. A few problems delayed Dr. Asperger’s findings on Aaspergers Syndrome traits being discovered in the U.S. Much of his early work was lost when a school he founded for children with this syndrome was bombed near the end of WWII. In addition, his article was not translated in to English until the 1980′s. Although he passed away before his findings were recognized worldwide, Aaspergers Syndrome traits are now more easily identifiable thanks to him.
Differences between children with autism and those with Aspergers Syndrome become more pronounced around age 10. There are problems with social skills. This is one of the most notable difficulties due to trouble with two-way interaction and face to face communication with others. Repetitive speech and poor non-verbal communication contribute to these difficulties. Initiating and maintaining conversation and awkwardness in social situations leads to an inability to make friends in childhood. Finger twisting and hand wringing repetitive movements also help distance them from others. Repetitious behavior can include certain rituals that must be followed in routine activities, such as getting dressed in a certain order (socks first, then underwear, then shirt, etc.). Eye contact is difficult to make or maintain, and appropriate expressions and gestures are not used. They may also find it hard to understand the context of words spoken to them by another. Intense, almost obsessive, interest in just a few things is another hallmark of Aspergers Syndrome. While the child may appear socially inept and physically awkward and clumsy, often he or she is highly skilled or talented in a certain area, such as piano playing or geology.
The one trait that is most distinguishing is often an obsessive interest in one thing. All other topics will be excluded until the child learns all there is to know about one topic or object. Their sometimes advanced vocabulary and formal speech patterns has been said to make some resemble “little professors”. These are also the children who have trouble learning to ride a bicycle, or play baseball, or any sport that involves good motor skills and coordination. They may walk stiltedly, or with a “bounce”. Even if they approach others, their limitations often make them socially isolated, with few or no friends.
Cognitive abilities are high, and age-appropriate self-help skills generally not delayed. Significant impairment in social functioning is present. As previously stated, this is considered the “high functioning” end of the autism spectrum disorders. People with Aspergers Syndrome get jobs, marry, and raise children.
As with any disorder, symptoms and traits of Aspergers Syndrome can vary in degree and intensity. What has been described here are the most common symptoms. Any official diagnosis needs to come from a medical professional who specializes in these areas. Once diagnosed, the right treatment and assistance can be implemented to enable a child with Aspergers Syndrome to develop to his or her full potential.
Asperegers Quiz; Is it Credible?
Asperger’s syndrome, a rather complicated form of autism that affects 3 out of every 1000 people in the world, can be a very frustrating condition of not diagnosed early enough and treated. However, with the growing number of online sites providing credible Aspergers quiz, it just got easier for everyone to check out for themselves whether they do indeed have the syndrome or not. However, given that almost every Tom, Dick and Harry could come up with an Aspergers Quiz of their own, we are left with one gnawing question; Can we trust this quiz?
Despite the consequences and costs of being born with the Asperger’s syndrome being profoundly difficult to handle, there are a few perks that come with this peculiar mental disorder. For instance, intense focus, high I.Q and enhanced analytical abilities are some of the extraordinary abilities experienced by those diagnosed with the Asperger’s syndrome. All in all just like every coin has two sides, so does the Asperger’s Syndrome.
Facing difficulty during social interactions and communication are just some of the few issues that make it hard for those with Asperger’s Syndrome to lead normal lives. Therefore, it is becoming more apparent that majority of people are turning to the various Asperger’s Syndrome quiz available online to figure it all out for themselves, but is this the right move?
First off, it is important for you to realize that taking an Aspie quiz does not provide you with a formal diagnosis since this can only be done by a qualified doctor. The quiz only helps you to determine whether you have Asperger’s Syndrome. On the same line, the accuracy of the results you get from taking an Aspergers quiz heavily depends on the honest nature of your answers meaning you have to be completely honest with yourself.
In the case that you have experienced some of the said Asperger’s Syndrome symptoms, taking an Aspie quiz might be the easiest, fastest and most affordable way of clearing off your doubts. What is even better is that the quiz only takes a short time to fill out providing you with the end results in the shortest time. This beats scheduling an appointment with your psychiatrist only to find out you never had Asperger’s Syndrome in the first place. So we could say it helps to save time and money what with the great measure of convenience provided.
In addition, the fact that all the information fed in to the site is kept confidential assures you of your privacy. This coupled by the wide range of question types provided makes the quiz interesting if not amusing. You do not have to register to fill up a quiz if you do not want to making the process even faster.
So what happens when the quiz results point out you have Asperger’s syndrome? In such a case, you should take it upon yourself to seek professional medical help for a formal diagnosis and proper treatment. You do not have to endure sleepless nights any more, all it takes is a simple Aspergers quiz to put your mind at ease.
Asperger’s In Adults
Asperger’s syndrome is a developmental disorder that affects how a person perceives and processes information. Classified under Autism Spectrum Disorder, Asperger syndrome is characterized by impairment in social interaction and repetitive patterns of behavior.
Like Autism and other developmental disorders, Asperger syndrome begins in childhood. While most of the symptoms and signs of autism are visible in childhood, the symptoms of Asperger syndrome become apparent in adolescence when the social demands of an individual increases. Males are affected more than females, with the ratio ranging from 10:1. The exact cause of this disorder is still not known; however, clinical studies and research have linked genetic factor with the occurrence of this condition.
Symptoms of Aspergers in adults-
Every individual with AS will experience different symptoms and severity of the condition. Aspergers in adults is characterized by a variety of symptoms, particularly in communication, social relationships and interests. Some of the most common symptoms of Aspergers in adults are lack of managing appropriate social conduct, inability to think rationally, high intelligence, lack of empathy and anger management issues. Adults with aspergers have significant difficulties in social interaction. It has been observed that people with autism are typically withdrawn; but this is not the case with a person with AS. Individual having AS is not afraid to approach others. But, he engages in long boring speeches without understanding other person’s feelings or reactions. Individuals with AS may exhibit a lack of empathy for their peers. Relationships are often one-sided or distant.
Another important characteristic of this condition is the development of specialized fields of interest in patients. Persons with AS have extreme focus on any particular interest or hobby. Some people are very talented in their chosen field of interest. There is strict adherence to daily routines which can lead to anxiety if it is not followed. There is a restricted and repeated pattern of behavior.
Asperger’s syndrome is a lifelong condition without any cure or treatment. There are several programs that offer social trainings to improve social skills. These training programs help an individual find normalcy in their lives. With proper treatment, their quality of life improves with respect to their interests, social activities, family and health.
Persons with AS have trouble understanding the emotions of other people. Moreover, the behavior is also misunderstood as their facial expression, eye contact and emotions are not understood by other people. Because of this, a person with Asperger’s syndrome may be labelled egoistic, selfish and uncaring. Social therapy teaches how to behave and react in social situations. This helps a person with AS understand their behavioral response. Individual psychotherapy helps the individual learn social skills training, under which he learns about how to read social cues and how to deal with emotions.
It is not difficult to manage Aspergers in adults. Many adults with Asperger syndrome have been found to work successfully in their career. With proper social training, behavioral and cognitive therapy and by focussing their energy on strengths, individuals with AS can lead a normal life.
Transitions are often a major challenge for those with Asperger’s. I witness this first hand with my nine year old son and see the amount of stress and anxiety he endures when he faces change. For example, this past Christmas break he enjoyed two quiet weeks at home mainly playing with his new toys, one play date, and a couple of family gatherings. For the most part his social interactions were limited and kept to small groups or one on ones. All of this came to an end after the first week of January and he returned back to school. The transition back to school was difficult for him and resulted in a minor melt-down. His senses were on overload, especially his audio with frequent requests to turn the car radio off that was barely loud enough to hear in the first place. His stomach was unsettled for a good week as well. His teacher commented that the first week back was a struggle for him. He had had great success at school with regards to his social development for the month of December. I guess two steps forward and one step back in this case. Most of us do not like change, but for those with Asperger’s Syndrome that can be a huge understatement. I guess the final message I am trying to drive home is firstly, anticipate the struggle your child/student may have when a transition is ahead. Give them lot’s of warnings and instructions for the forthcoming change. Show some compassion and understanding for this period as you know it is only temporary as your child/student adapts to the new routine. Half way through the second week back to school things seemed to have balanced out and my son appears to have settled back into his school routine and all the social challenges involved for a child with asperger’s syndrome. Transitions can be events like the one I mentioned above to less complex situations such as changing class rooms for the next subject at school. It’s important to remember, the actions of one child with asperger’s will seldom be the same for the next asperger child as many will handle transitions differently than others.
Some strategies you can adopt to help your child/student with asperger’s syndrome and coping with transitions include:
- Lot’s of warnings about the upcoming change.
- You could act out or role play the upcoming event.
- Visual aids such as a daily schedule at the child’s desk.
- A timer so they can countdown and prepare for the next event.
I decided to write an article on Asperger’s Syndrome and tics to help clear up some misconceptions circulating out there. James Durbin, a current American Idol contestant diagnosed with both Asperger’s and Tourette’s Syndrome has piqued curiosity in both conditions. Almost a year ago my eight year old son began displaying a tic. He had recently been diagnosed with Asperger’s at the time and shortly after began periods of constant blinking. His teacher and principal noticed it as well and gave me some feedback. In a way it was a good thing as you could now see a physical trait of his diagnosis. Any non believers had a hard time accepting my son’s diagnosis of Asperger’s as he was often so disruptive and misbehaved, he was simply a bad child that needed more discipline or better parenting perhaps. His eye blinking soon went away and another tic appeared. This time it was jaw stretching. He often open his mouth wide open for no apparent reason several times in a row. Tourette’s Syndrome comes to mind when people think of tics. Soon people at the school began asking about a possible dual diagnosis. When we visited the Dr. he explained the definition of Tourette’s Syndrome as having three physical tics and one verbal tic all at the same time. My son does have the odd verbal tic…..he does have this strange fascination with the word poop for some reason and often likes to say it at the most inappropriate of times, however he only displayed one physical tic at a time. The mouth stretching no longer occurs but now he will stretch his forehead upwards. My son has what is called transient tics, tics that change over time.
I decided to turn to Tony Atwood’s “Complete Guide To Asperger’s Syndrome” for some hard facts on the matter.
- Research has indicated that between 20 and 60 per cent of children with Asperger’s Syndrome developed tics, both physical and vocal.
- Tics usually peak between the ages of 10 and 12.
- 40 per cent of these children are tic free by the age of 18.
- The vocal or physical tic can change over time , as different types of tics come and go, and there can be months where the child can go tic free.
- Tic frequency can be greater when experiencing stress but will also occur while the child is relaxed and just watching television
As a parent you should be aware that medicating your child with a stimulant similar to one used to treat ADHD (ritalin) can have a negative effect and increase the frequency of tics by increasing dopamine levels.
I hope this sheds some light on the subject and would love to hear any feedback from other parents who have an Asperger child with tics.
I was at the clinic the other day with my son and the Dr. said something that caught my attention. In 2013, the powers that be will no longer recognize Aspergers Syndrome as we know it but rather clump it in together with Autism. I decided to do a little digging and this is what I came up with. The American Psychiatric Association has recommended that in May 2013 the deletion of Asperger’s disorder. A link to the site can be found here Elimination Of Aspergers By APA.
I have mixed feelings on this as it is lumping my son and other Aspies into a broad group. Aspergers is definitely part of the ASD family but to compare my son to someone who is low functioning would not be fair. I will use our good friend Dustin Hoffman from the movie Rainman as an example. Rainman’s social skills as an adult were severely lacking, constantly repeating the same phrases and very rigid routines. My son and many other Aspies I have seen do not share these characteristics to that extreme. Most Aspies do not qualify for many of the benefits a lower functioning autistic child might in the school system. I get that. My son has different needs. Social skills building and an understanding of his hidden disability are most important. Most Aspies including my son are “A” and “B” students and deserve to be in mainstream schooling. With the right teaching and parenting many Asperger children go on to lead successful lives if they are diagnosed early and get the proper help.
I guess I am looking at it from my simple perspective. If diabetes can have type 1 and type 2, and cancer comes in many forms…..from a milder case of skin cancer right to dangerous liver cancer. Why can we not have Asperger’s recognized as part of the Autism family instead of just lumping it all as Autism? I am sure the medical field would treat a light case of skin cancer far different than a severe case of liver cancer.
I guess we will have to wait and see how this will impact our children. I know if I was a parent in 2013 with a newly diagnosed child with Autism who in fact displayed all the traits of Asperger’s as we know it, I would feel cheated out of all the great resources that specifically apply to my Aspie child and getting him the help he needs. Just my two cents. I would appreciate any comments.
For a better understanding of Aspergers Syndrome, a diagram of the human brain showing how certain regions are responsible for individual functions. A person with Aspergers will look and act “normal” however the region of the brain responsible for social skills is not wired neurotypical.
Aspergers is often hard for parents and teachers to understand as the disability can not be readily recognized like that of a hearing or vision impaired child or even low functioning autism. Aspergers can be considered a hidden disability which results in greater difficulty getting additional support or services. This is largely due to the fact that many of these children tend to pass from grade to grade relatively easily. Many aspies often blend in with the rest of the class in the way they look, perform physical activity, and will even excel at academics in many cases. Picture yourself growing up in grade school. Remember waaaaay back. You quickly learned many things on the school yard through instinct. Nobody taught you those skills….you just picked them up naturally. You knew swearing was not allowed at school….but we all heard it. We knew if the teachers were far enough away at recess you could get away with it. There was our tag game that we played on our school fort. We all knew that we were not allowed to jump off the top of the fort but, when the teacher was not around and you were about to be tagged….you jumped. The asperger mind has difficulty in drawing the line between when it’s ok to act a certain way and when it’s not. They lack the instinct we had growing up of knowing how to handle a social situation. This can cause a great deal of heart ache for the child. Research has shown that through rote memory many of these social skills that came naturally to you or I can be learned by the child with Aspergers. Repetitive social skills stories have been found to be effective. I remember with my son, right up until the end of grade two, he would be walking down the hall with me and other children would say “hello” or “good-bye” to him and he would not respond back. Each time I would prompt him to respond back. His response would often sound like a question….”good-bye?” with a puzzled look on his face. Nobody had to remind me how to respond to a greeting at school. We all knew what to say, it just came naturally. After his diagnosis I read that several asperger children have the same issue with greetings. My son now responds to greetings I am happy to say. It’s not an immediate response, as he does often pause before he responds but he has finally remembered the correct responses. It’s important to understand these children’s thought process is not the same as we experienced growing up. They view the world differently and much patience and understanding is required to help and constantly redirect them in social situations.