What Is Asperger’s Syndrome?
Asperger’s syndrome also called Asperger’s disorder was named for the Austrian doctor, Hans Asperger, who first described the disorder in 1944. However, Asperger’s syndrome was not recognized as a unique disorder until much later.
Asperger’s syndrome is a type of pervasive developmental disorder (PDD). PDDs are a group of conditions that involve delays in the development of many basic skills, most notably the ability to socialize with others, to communicate, and to use imagination. There is a spectrum within the PDD disorders.
Although Asperger’s syndrome is similar in some ways to autism — another, more severe type of PDD — there are some important differences. Children with Asperger’s syndrome typically function better than do those with autism.
In addition, children with Asperger’s syndrome generally have normal intelligence and near-normal language development, although they may develop problems communicating as they get older.
Children with Asperger’s syndrome are at risk for developing other conditions, such as depression, ADHD, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Fortunately, there are various behavioral therapy, counseling, and medication options available for these conditions.
Because the level of intelligence often is average or higher than average, many people with Asperger’s syndrome are able to function very well. They may, however, continue to have problems socializing with others through adulthood.