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Asperger syndrome

Related Terms

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Background

  • Asperger syndrome is a mild type of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These disorders are characterized by problems with communication and social interaction and by unusual, repetitive behaviors. Some professionals use a broader term, called pervasive development disorders (PDDs), to describe autism spectrum disorders. In addition to Asperger syndrome, there are four other disorders that qualify as PDDs: autism, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Rett syndrome.
  • Children with Asperger syndrome usually have normal intelligence and do not have the language problems typical of autism. Patients with Asperger syndrome have many of the same social interaction and communication problems as autistic patients. However, patients with Asperger syndrome tend to have normal intelligence and verbal skills. Although these patients typically have strong verbal and grammar skills, they usually have other language problems, such as being too literal and/or having difficulty understanding non-verbal communications, such as body language. Other symptoms may include motor skill problems (e.g., clumsy movements), obsessive or repetitive routines and schedules, and sensitivity to sensory information (e.g., sound, light, or taste).
  • Asperger syndrome is named after Hans Asperger, a Viennese pediatrician who, in 1940, first described a set of behavior patterns apparent in some of his patients, most of whom were males. Asperger described these boys as having normal intelligence and language development but having severely impaired social and communication skills and poor coordination.
  • Some doctors believe that Asperger syndrome is not a separate and distinct disorder from autism. Instead, they call it high-functioning autism (HFA) and view it as being on the mild end of the ASD spectrum with symptoms that differ only slightly from classic autism.
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Risk Factors

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Causes

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Signs and Symptoms

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Diagnosis

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Complications

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Treatment

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Integrative Therapies

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Prevention

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.