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Asperger's Syndrome

Psychological Disorder

Asperger Syndrome is a neurobiological disorder named after the Viennese physician, Hans Asperger, who in 1944 published a research paper which described a pattern of behaviors in several young boys who had normal intelligence and language development, but who also exhibited autistic-like behaviors and marked deficiencies in social and communication skills. It wasn't until 1994 that Asperger Syndrome was recognised a a unique disorder.

Qualitative impairment in social interaction with at least two demonstrations of impaired social interaction. The person:

Shows a marked inability to regulate social interaction by using multiple non-verbal behaviors such as body posture and gestures, eye contact and facial expression.

Doesn't develop peer relationships that are appropriate to the developmental level.

Doesn't seek to share achievements, interests or pleasure with others.

Lacks social or emotional reciprocity.

Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:

Preoccupation with abnormal (in focus or intensity) interests that are restricted and stereotyped (such as spinning things).

Rigidly sticks to routines or rituals that don't appear to have a function.

Has stereotyped, repetitive motor mannerisms (such as hand flapping).

Persistently preoccupied with parts of objects.

The symptoms cause clinically important impairment in social, occupational or personal functioning.

There is no clinically significant general delay in language (e.g., single words used by age 2 years, communicative phrases used by age 3 years).

There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self-help skills, adaptive behavior (other than in social interaction), and curiosity about the environment in childhood.

The patient doesn't fulfill criteria for Schizophrenia or another specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder.

Associated Features:

Associated features of Asperger's Syndrome which are not required for diagnosis but are commonly present include delay in motor development often seen as clumsiness, extreme sensitivities to sensations, and excessive, but non-interactive, speech when related to areas of interest. In addition, many children with Asperger's will have behavior problems due to their difficulty in understanding the world around them

Differential Diagnosis:

Some disorders have similar symptoms. The clinician, therefore, in his diagnostic attempt has to differentiate against the following disorders which need to be ruled out to establish a precise diagnosis.

Age-appropriate Behaviors in Active Children.
Mental Retardation.
Under Stimulating Environments.
Oppositional Behavior.
Another Mental Disorder.
Pervasive Developmental Disorder.
Psychotic Disorder.
Other Substance-Related Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.


Asperger's Disorder is a milder variant of Autistic Disorder. Both Asperger's Disorder and Autistic Disorder are in fact subgroups of a larger diagnostic category. This larger category is called either Autistic Spectrum Disorders or Pervasive Developmental Disorders. See Autistic Disorder


There is no specific treatment for Asperger's Disorder. All the interventions outlined below are mainly symptomatic and/or rehabilitational.

Counseling and Psychotherapy [ See Therapy Section ]:

Individual psychotherapy to help the individual to process the feelings aroused by being socially

Parent education and training.

Behavioral modification.

Social skills training.

Educational interventions.

Pharmacotherapy [ See Psychopharmacology Section] :

For hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity: Psychostimulants (methyphenidate, dextroamphetamine, metamphetamine, pemoline), Clonidine, Tricyclic Antidepressants (desipramine, nortriptyline).

For irritability and aggression: Mood Stabilizers (valproate, carbamazepine, lithium), Beta Blockers (nadolol, propranolol), Clonidine, Naltrexone, Neuroleptics (risperidone, haloperidol).

For preoccupations, rituals and compulsions: SSRIs (fluvoxamine, fluoxetine), Tricyclic Antidepressants (clomipramine).

For anxiety: SSRIs (sertraline, fluoxetine), Tricyclic Antidepressants (imipramine, clomipramine, nortriptyline)

DSM Code

299.80 Asperger's Disorder

F84.5 Asperger's Syndrome

Disorder Sheets


Suite 7
Kings Mill
Queens Street
Harle Syke
BB10 2HX
Tel: +441282415455

The Asperger's Syndrome Foundation
Finsbury Square Charity Centre
Royal London House, Suite 5A,
1st Floor,
22-25 Finsbury Square
Tele: None
Email: Click Here
Website: Click Here

Recommended Book

Asperger Syndrome: A Guide for Educators and Parents - Click Here to View


Asperger's Syndrome

Misc Information

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Asperger's Syndrome