What is Aspergers?
Asperger’s syndrome is a form of autism found in children usually from birth. Named by pediatrician Hans Asperger in 1944, it has become a standard diagnosis in children today.
Causes of Asperger’s Syndrome
There are quite a few factors that contribute to Asperger’s Syndrome. Genetic factors inherited through the father are considered to be one cause, as Aspergers tends to run in families. Possible exposure in the womb to teratogens during the first 8 weeks of life may be another contributing factor. Environmental agents may also be contributing factors including exposure to external toxins or household chemicals but none has been confirmed. Allergic reactions to specific foods in another possible contributors. A recent theory, that the MMR vaccine is a significant cause of this disease is now being questioned as a possible hoax.
Medications for Asperger’s Syndrome
There are no available medications to actually treat the disease. Instead it is used to alleviate or reduce some of the more highly mechanical and emotional behaviors. The anitpsychotic drugs Risperidone or Risperdal helps reduce undesirable physical behaviors as well as violent outbursts. Prozac, Sertraline, and Luvox are know to decrease fanatical interests or physical repetition. Daytrana helps decrease any attention deficit issues and depression or anxiety is commonly treated with Xanex.
Prevention of Asperger’s Syndrome
Because the causes of Asperger’s syndrome are relatively unknown there is no means of preventing the disease. The only option would be adults, who know they have this disease in their family tree, opting not to have children. However, even the genetic link has not been 100% proven.
Risk Factors of Asperger’s Syndrome
Risk factors for Asperger’s Syndrome are currently undetermined. However, medical professionals have found a link between the occurrence of Aspergers in the father’s family history with the likelihood of producing an Asperger’s Syndrome child.
Symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome
There are several symptoms that characterize Asperger’s syndrome. Lack of empathy for others is probably the most significant symptom of the disease. An inability to cope in social situation and failure to establish personal relationships are also common. Individuals with Aspergers can become fixated on repetitive behaviors or routines. Usually Asperger individuals have an almost fanatical desire to focus on detailed information regarding one topic; such as the scientific name of butterflies or memorizing the different models of refrigerators. Physical repetition is also common especially flapping arms, roccking or bouncing up and down. Speech, while present, is usually considered odd in terms of pitch, tone and rhythm. Conversation may solely focus on the interests of the Asperger individual. Standard social conversations may not be possible. Other symptoms that vary between individuals but can be present include abnormal motor skills, abnormal sleep patterns and deficiencies in spatial, visual or auditory perception.
Treatment for Asperger’s Syndrome
Treatment of Asperger’s Syndrome occurs on several levels. Therapists work to teach standard social skills to these individual. In addition, Asperger’s inviduals are trained in stress management skills. Medication can be administered to treat anxiety or depression. Professional physical and occupational therapy can also be a standards treatment. If individuals have verbal deficiencies, speech therapy can be included in the treatment routine. Finally, the individuals, usually family, who interact with the affected individual are trained in care, proper interaction and crisis management.
Types of Asperger’s Syndrome
There are 4 different types of Asperger’s syndrome:
- The Logical Type displays cautious behavior. These individuals prefer a life of rules, order and logic. They do not like chaos or surprises.
- The Emotional Type is controlled by their feelings. Frustration is common and violent outbursts not unexpected. Structure and routine will help these individuals.
- The Rule Type thrives on daily routine and structure. If no rules are made, this Aspergers child will often invent their own
- The Passive Type follows direction well and can flourish in the classroom. However there is the danger that the individual will become overly complacent.