Reprinted from: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
What is Asperger Syndrome?
Asperger syndrome (AS) is a pervasive developmental disorder characterized by an inability to understand how to interact socially. Other features include clumsy and uncoordinated motor movements, social impairment with extreme obtuseness, limited interests and/or unusual preoccupations, repetitive routines or rituals, speech and language peculiarities, and non-verbal communication problems. Generally, children with AS have few facial expressions apart from anger or misery. Most have excellent rote memory and musical ability, and become intensely interested in one or two subjects (sometimes to the exclusion of other topics). They may talk at length about a favorite subject or repeat a word or phrase many times. Children with AS tend to be "in their own world" and preoccupied with their own agenda. AS is commonly recognized after the age of 3. Some individuals who exhibit features of autism (a developmental brain disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication skills) but who have well-developed language skills may be diagnosed with AS, although high-functioning autism differs from AS in early language delay.
Is there any treatment?
There is no specific course of treatment or cure for AS. Treatment, which is symptomatic and rehabilitational, may include both psychosocial and psychopharmacological interventions such as psychotherapy, parent education and training, behavioral modification, social skills training, educational interventions, and/or medications including psychostimulants, mood stabilizers, beta blockers, neuroleptics, and tricyclic antidepressants.
What is the prognosis?
Children with AS have a better outlook than those with other forms of pervasive developmental disorders, and are much more likely to grow up to be independently functioning adults. Nonetheless, in most cases, these individuals will continue to demonstrate, to some extent, subtle disturbances in social interactions. There is also an increased risk for development of psychosis (a mental disorder) and/or mood problems such as depression and anxiety in the later years.