Emily Comp: Asperger's Syndrome Research Paper

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Research Paper
November 18, 2012
Asperger’s Syndrome
Approximately 947,570 Americans have Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), however, it is not an easy disorder to explain (Bashe 19). With multiple conditions and characteristics in each case, AS is not an easy disorder to diagnose. Asperger’s Syndrome was named after Hans Asperger, an Austrian physician, who first described the disorder in 1944 after studying a group of children with similar, unusual characteristics. However, AS was not made an official disease until 1994. Consequently, Asperger disease is just now becoming published and popular so there is still research and questions being answered. Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder, is noted by above-average intellectual skills but severely impaired social skills with repetitive patterns and interest. There are several other disorders that are related to Asperger’s. These include other autism spectrum disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Bipolar Syndrome and others (Bashe 68). Since Asperger’s is a recent disorder, the cause of AS is not clear. Scientists are still investigating why Asperger’s occurs. Nevertheless, few theories have surfaced. Some believe brain abnormalities or a hereditary component result in AS. The cause could also be factors that include brain development. Nevertheless, scientists have eliminated child immunizations, lack of intelligence, or “bad parenting” as the cause for Asperger’s. (Weiss) AS is also not due to emotional deprivation or other psychogenic factors that originate from a person’s thinking. A possible reason for an unidentifiable cause is the symptoms for Asperger’s Syndrome are nearly unlimited. Furthermore, with AS one can exhibit few or multiple symptoms. Still, the core symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome are poor communication skills, obsessive or repetitive behavior, and physical clumsiness (Weiss). With communication skills, vocabulary and syntax is in normal range for people with AS, a formal style of speaking is evident. For example, they might say “beckon” instead of “call.” The symptoms of Asperger’s that are most noticeable are the ones that are displayed by social awkwardness and their inability to pick up on social cues. Thus, people with AS often engage in one-sided conversations with a monotonous voice, give very precise information, and believe the point of a conversation is to exchange information -- that is it. It is hard for them to communicate and explain their thoughts and ideas through speech. Additionally, AS individuals take a literal interpretation of everything and display awkward nonverbal gestures such as lack of eye contact, inappropriate starring, signs of boredom, short attention span and odd facial expressions. Those with Asperger’s would struggle with “reading” others and understanding nonverbal communication. A person with Asperger’s lacks the Theory of Mind. The Theory of Mind is the ability to reconginze and understand thoughts, desires and intentions of others. Basically, it is nearly impossible for a person with Asperger’s to have empathy for others and can be extremely insensitive. They have a distinct sense of humor and have difficulties expressing their emotions. Because AS causes them to perceive the world differently, their “rudeness” is not intentional. The symptoms and characteristics of people with AS vary, resulting in a remarkably challenging diagnosis of the disease. No two cases of Asperger’s syndrome are identical. Each case presents its own characteristics and challenges, for Asperger’s syndrome does not describe a single behavior but a specific combination that are present to a certain extent. (Bashe 75)Of course, it would be easy to attribute the strange behavior and lack of social interest to just being “different.” The diagnosis is usually done after age three and between ages five and nine. A boy is three to four times...
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