A high-functioning disorder

Published: 17th October 2012 08:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th October 2012 08:59 AM   |  A+A-


Asperger syndrome is considered to be ‘high-functioning’ disorder and is identified in people who have average or above average intelligence whereas autism is a ‘low-functioning’ disorder with many unusual behavioural patterns. The syndrome derived its name from Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger who studied about lack of nonverbal communication skills, limited empathy and physical clumsiness exhibited by some children. While the exact cause of this ailment remains unknown. Asperger syndrome is characterised by significant inconvenience in engaging in social interaction. Affected people show restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviour and interests. Although an ASD, it differs from other disorders in the group by its relative conservation of linguistic and cognitive development. Such persons may also show physical clumsiness and unusual use of language. There is no one-time treatment for this condition; behavioural therapy can be used. Learn more about this condition from the following section.

AS is characterised by difficulties in social interactions and communication, which hinder the individual’s overall personality development. Like most of the developmental disorders, AS also begins during infancy or early childhood.This syndrome exhibits a steady course without relapse and may show various other impairments resulting from maturation-related changes in brain. Asperger syndrome is characterised by a range of symptoms rather than a single noticeable symptom. One-sided verbosity (using excess words), restricted prosody (lack of rhythm, stress and intonation in speech), intense preoccupation with a narrow subject, etc are typical symptoms of this condition.

People suffering from AS may have excellent vocabulary but at the same time they may face difficulties in understanding figurative language, which has an exaggerated meaning, often different from what the word generally refers to. Abnormalities in speech include abrupt transitions, verbosity, use of wrong metaphors, formal or idiosyncratic speech (the person may use some words which he uses to denote something but, may signify something else for others), etc. Also, they may have pronoun reversal problems (for example, referring oneself as you, he and she or by name). Such people may get involved in monologue (talking to oneself), and their speech is usually loud, jerky and fast. It might even be incoherent and illogical, marked with verbosity. Asperger syndrome is related to autism but the symptoms and characteristics are not exactly the same. Like autism, AS also has wide range of characteristics, which may not be the same for two individuals with the same ailment.

Some AS affected individuals show excellent memory in certain areas.Their perception of fear is different. They may get scared even in secure situations whilst staying fearless in dangerous situations. They may have exceptional skills in some areas while being extremely weak in others. AS affected people often have concentration problems and may not be able to concentrate on a specific task for long time.

They often have good visual and auditory perception. Some individuals can even make out small changes in the arrangements of objects that they are well acquainted to.

Such people may also suffer from difficulty in sleeping like insomnia, frequent waking up during night and difficulty in returning to sleep after that or early morning awakenings.

Their behaviour may not match their intentions. Such people may need comfort items like some blankets, toys, etc to calm down and can show unusual attachment to some specific things.



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