Asperger's Syndrome

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Introduction To the Disorder
Asperger’s syndrome (AS), originally described by Hans Asperger in 1944 (Attwood, 2007, p. 23), was historically considered a distinct high-functioning subtype of autism. It is now considered simply an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) following a change to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 2013 (Kite, Gullifer, & Tyson, 2013). “Autism spectrum disorders are severe disorders of development that can affect social interaction, communication, play, and learning” (The Speech Pathologist, 2014).
Because AS was only recently identified as a diagnosis, the total number of individuals affected by this syndrome remains difficult to determine. The National Institute of Child Health and Mental
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Nonetheless, there are signs to look for during assessment that expose their speech and language challenges.
AS is characterized first and foremost as a social disorder (Myles & Simpson, 2002, p. 132). Although children with AS have a desire to make friends, their intentions are not always well executed or accepted by their peers (Myles & Simpson, 2002, p. 133). Often times, they appear awkward in conversation and inflexible to change (Myles & Simpson, 2002, p. 133). AS children are better understood in a one-on-one setting and “cannot interpret the simultaneous presentation of facial expression, posture, gestures, and voice tone in social context” (Myles & Simpson, 2002, p.
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65). Strong Narrative Assessment Procedure is available to evaluate narration, but was not developed with a focus of assessing pragmatic social skills. Young et al. describes the difficulty evaluating language of those with AS due to the fact that the disorder itself is characterized by deficits in social language which cannot be measured in the same ways as other areas of language (Young, et al., 2005, p. 64). “The most commonly used means to assess and describe pragmatic behaviors are observation and the coding of behaviors with checklists and behavioral profiles” as quoted by Gallagher & Prutting (1983), Loveland, Landry, Hughes, Hall, & McEvoy (1988), and Wetherby & Prizant (1989) in (Young et al., 2005, p. 64). “It is unrealistic to assume that a single instrument, no matter how thoroughly researched can be used in isolation to ascertain diagnosis” (Howlin, 2000, p. 127). Since pragmatic language is the main area of deficiency, it is problematic to standardize and norm a test that needs to take into account the environment of the AS child along with the standards and norms that are expected with whom that child

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