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Asperger Syndrome

Marked impairment in social interaction and a repetitive, stereotyped pattern of behavior. The individual, however, displays no delay in language or cognitive development, which differentiates Asperger Syndrome from autism.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Asperger Syndrome

Asperger syndrome (AS) is a developmental disorder. It is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), one of a distinct group of neurological conditions characterized by a greater or lesser degree of impairment in language and communication skills, as well as repetitive or restrictive patterns of thought and behavior.

Other ASDs include: classic autism, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (usually referred to as PDD-NOS). Unlike children with autism, children with AS retain their early language skills.

The most distinguishing symptom of AS is a child's obsessive interest in a single object or topic to the exclusion of any other. Children with AS want to know everything about their topic of interest and their conversations with others will be about little else. Their expertise, high level of vocabulary, and formal speech patterns make them seem like little professors.

Other characteristics of AS include repetitive routines or rituals; peculiarities in speech and language; socially and emotionally inappropriate behavior and the inability to interact successfully with peers; problems with non-verbal communication; and clumsy and uncoordinated motor movements...Read more about Asperger Syndrome NIH - National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Social skills interventions for children with Asperger's syndrome or high-functioning autism: a review and recommendations

This review assessed the effectiveness of Social Skills Training (SST) programs for children with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) or high-functioning autism (HFA) and found little empirical support for them. Given doubts about the review process these results should be considered with caution.

Second generation antipsychotics in Asperger's disorder and high functioning autism: a systematic review of the literature and effectiveness of meta-analysis

OBJECTIVE: Second generation antipsychotics (SGA) have gained increased evidence for the treatment of irritability and aggression in children and adolescents with lower functioning autistic disorder. Individuals with Asperger's Disorder (AD) and High Functioning Autism (HFA) experience significant emotional and behavioral problems and psychiatric comorbidity. There is a need to review the published literature on SGA treatment efficacy in the AD and HFA populations to provide more effective treatment choices for these subgroups.

Constant and progressive time delay procedures for teaching children with autism: a literature review

This poorly reported review of the research conducted on constant and progressive time delay procedures used for teaching children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) concluded that both techniques had been shown to be effective. The conclusions were based on limited primary data and indirect comparisons, and should be interpreted with caution.

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Summaries for consumers

Antipsychotic Medicines for Children and Teens: A Review of the Research for Parents and Caregivers

This summary discusses using antipsychotic medicines to treat psychiatric conditions in children. It explains what medical research says about the benefits and possible side effects of these medicines when taken by children. This summary does not discuss other medicines to treat psychiatric conditions or non-medicine treatment options. It can help you talk with your child’s doctor to decide if an antipsychotic medicine is right for your child.

More about Asperger Syndrome

Photo of a child

Also called: Mild autism, Mild autistic disorder, Asperger's Syndrome, AS

Other terms to know:
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

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