Although autism appears in the first 3 years of life, children with Asperger’s syndrome spend their infancy years in the same condition as their peers. While speech retardation is observed more clearly in children with autism, the time to start talking and the way of speaking progress in a normal course in children with Asperger’s syndrome.
In terms of cognitive and language development, Asperger’s syndrome differs from autism. Compared to children with autism, children with Asperger’s syndrome are relatively more talkative and even overly talkative in areas of interest. Children with Asperger’s syndrome know that they are not compatible with society and they do not fit properly, but the child with autism is not aware of this.
It is difficult to distinguish between autism and Asperger’s syndrome. Autism is a syndrome whose definition is constantly changing due to ongoing studies, while Asperger’s syndrome is a newer definition. Asperger’s syndrome emerged in the 1980s by Hans Asperger, who was inspired by Neo Kanner’s definition of autism in 1944.
Difference Between Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome
Children with autism can be distinguished more quickly by their different behaviors at a very early age. They attract attention more quickly with excessive crying, not making eye contact, indifference to the environment, feeding problems, and similar problems in some behaviors they exhibit. Although Asperger’s syndrome has a few things in common, it is actually very different. If the child’s mental level is high, social maladjustment problems usually arise. However, they are not unsolvable. If they are given a good education, they can even continue their school life successfully like their peers.
Asperger’s syndrome and autism are developmental disorders that are quite similar to each other but show typical differences. When examined in general terms, both conditions are disorders that start to show themselves in childhood and especially affect social communication and interaction negatively.
There is no definitive treatment for these developmental disorders that reduce the quality of life of the individual. However, with various therapies and studies, the effects can be reduced and the person can be helped to improve their social interaction and communication skills. For this, it is useful to take your children too see a specialist as soon as you think your child has symptoms of autism.
There are some distinct differences between Asperger’s syndrome and autism, which negatively affect social life. It draws attention to speech disorders or retardation that can often be observed in individuals with autism. However, the oral speech of individuals with Asperger’s syndrome is generally not impaired.
Individuals with autism have not developed academic skills; because their autism makes learning difficult. On the other hand, individuals with Asperger’s syndrome show academic success. Sometimes this success progresses at a similar level to its peers, while sometimes it can manifest itself as above the average.
One of the most obvious differences between these two developmental disorders is the desire to communicate. Individuals with autism do not want to socialize and communicate with people. This situation is different in individuals with Asperger’s syndrome. They want to communicate and socialize with their environment. However, they cannot easily achieve this because their empathy and communication skills are not developed. Therefore, this situation causes sadness in the individual.
Although the social criteria for Asperger syndrome and autism are the same, Asperger syndrome usually has fewer symptoms. When their early life histories are evaluated, it is suggested that children with high-functioning autism are not sensitive to their mothers, other adults, and children in the age group, and do not like other people. Children with Asperger’s syndrome are often reported as children who can “show their love” and share their interests since early infancy.
Symptoms of depression can be observed in individuals with Asperger’s syndrome, especially in adolescence and later years due to their awareness level.
In both developmental disorders, parental observation is very important. It is of great importance for parents to understand the problem in their children early and seek professional help. For early diagnosis, parents should observe their children very well, especially between the ages of 0-6.
If the child has communication difficulties, shows introversion, repeats the same topics over and over, but has difficulty focusing on different topics, he/she may have a developmental disorder. In addition to these, delay in motor development of these children, high sensitivity to sound and light, and avoidance of eye contact are among the common symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome and autism.
A limited area of interest has been observed in children with Asperger’s syndrome. They are more concerned with mechanical toys or materials. These individuals have in-depth knowledge of their areas of interest. On the other hand, the individual with Asperger’s syndrome has difficulties, especially in social communication and interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication skills, time management, and effective use of time. Individuals with Asperger’s syndrome start speaking at the same age as their normally developed peers.
It is possible to diagnose autism between the ages of 0 and 3 years. However, it can be said that Asperger’s syndrome manifests itself between the ages of 4 and 11 in children and it is more difficult to diagnose. Although each child has individual differences, it will be an important first step for parents to take their children to child psychiatry when some common autism symptoms are recognized.
Changes in the brain are responsible for many of the symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome. However, scientists cannot determine exactly what causes these changes. Individuals with this diagnosis have problems communicating and establishing relationships with other people, although there is no obvious problem in their speaking skills. In addition, they have obsessive thoughts, behaviors, and interests.
Asperger’s syndrome is a problem that begins in childhood and makes social interaction difficult. The most important symptoms are extreme introversion, communication problems, and skill weakness. It is similar to autism in terms of general characteristics. Just like autism, Asperger’s syndrome is a developmental disorder whose cause is unknown and affects a lifetime.
Asperger’s syndrome was defined by Doctor Hans Asperger and excluded from autism. Unlike autism, there is no developmental delay in language and speech skills. The symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome, unlike other disorders on the autism spectrum, usually manifest themselves in older children.
Asperger’s Syndrome Diagnosis
Diagnosing Asperger’s syndrome can be difficult because there are no direct ways to diagnose Asperger’s syndrome, such as a blood test or imaging method. The symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome can vary from person to person. Diagnosis is usually made by taking the child’s developmental history, observing their behavior, and evaluating their language and communication skills.
Generally, it is more accurate to diagnose Asperger’s syndrome between the ages of 4-11. Impairment in social interaction, repetitive behaviors, lack of cognitive development, and extreme introversion, which are typical features of Asperger’s, are sought. Children are observed in different settings and their learning style, motor development, strengths and weaknesses, and independent living skills are investigated. It is more difficult to diagnose Asperger’s in adults. As in autism, early diagnosis is very important in Asperger’s syndrome.
Asperger’s Syndrome Symptoms
With its lifelong effects, Asperger’s syndrome affects children, teenagers, and adults. Children with Asperger’s syndrome, who like routine and have poor social skills, start talking from the age of 2. With this feature, it differs from autism. The typical features seen in children with Asperger’s syndrome who are separated from their peers by their pre-school symptoms are as follows:
- Although they can speak, they have difficulty initiating and maintaining a conversation.
- They like routine, they don’t like change.
- They are extremely introverted.
- They exhibit repetitive behaviors and speak monotonously.
- They do not understand the changing tone of voice when the other person is speaking, and they cannot perceive the jokes.
- Their speech is formal and their eye contact is poor.
- They may be overly concerned with specific issues and detail-oriented.
- They talk excessively about the topics they love and the situation turns into a one-sided conversation.
- In motor skills, learning occurs later than their peers.
It should not be taken to mean that a child with one of these symptoms has Asperger’s syndrome. In order for Asperger’s syndrome to be fully diagnosed, several of these symptoms must be observed in the child. In addition, very serious problems should be observed in social situations.
Asperger’s Syndrome Treatment
Asperger’s syndrome itself is an incurable condition. However, although it may last a lifetime, its symptoms can be greatly reduced with appropriate and effective treatments. The training aimed at increasing the child’s interaction with other children helps children to take an active role in society by ensuring that they are self-sufficient. Treatment for Asperger’s syndrome consists of improving social skills, communication, and behavioral management. The education program, which is constantly adjusted in parallel with the development of the child, should be continued at home as well as at school.
How Should a Child With Asperger’s Syndrome Be Treated?
Education is very important in children with Asperger’s as in every individual. It is necessary to receive behavioral training and support on issues such as communication and social situations. In Asperger’s syndrome, it is vital for families to receive education, to know how to treat their children, and to communicate with the child. The family can teach the child how to behave in a situation, how to deal with social demands, and how to use intonation when speaking and understanding situations that may cause problems. The family should cooperate with the schools where the child is educated and should inform the general environment well. In this direction, children with Asperger’s can be self-sufficient if they choose the appropriate education and suitable job when they reach adulthood.
What Is the Course of Asperger’s Syndrome in Later Ages?
Children with Asperger’s can find suitable jobs in which to work in the future. They can work well with orientation. But it will not require face-to-face dialogue; does not require organization, creativity, and dexterity; and they can work in jobs that do not have time pressure. There may be difficulties in the recruitment process. They may give inappropriate answers to the questions asked and the tension in the interview situation may lead to failure. Success rates may be higher in routine jobs that do not require an interview.
What Are the Possible Problems Related to Asperger’s Syndrome?
Depending on Asperger’s syndrome, mental problems may arise from adolescence. Children with Asperger’s are individuals who have intense anxiety about their structure. They are aware that they cannot adapt to society. This is a point where Asperger’s syndrome differs from autism. These individuals are introverted but eager to communicate. They don’t know what to do and their approach often drives people away. They are ostracized and ridiculed by their peers. They can get depressed. Obsessions and attention deficit hyperactivity may be present. Getting help, treatment, and guidance for the solution of these problems makes the life of the child with Asperger’s syndrome easier. If these problems are not treated, the syndrome will worsen and reduce the quality of life of the child.
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