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Thread: What is Asperger Syndrome.

  1. #1

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    Default What is Asperger Syndrome.

    What is Asperger Syndrome?

    A developmental disorder which falls within the Autism Spectrum. Main features of this disorder become obvious during early childhood and remain constant throughout life, although common features and degree of actual impairment can vary. Rarely recognised before the age of 3. More common in boys.
    Core features are lack of social skills, limited ability to have a 2 way conversation and an intense interest in a particular subject. Most of these children attend normal primary schools.

    COMMUNICATION

    Although these children are often highly articulate, content of speech may be abnormal, tending to be pedantic and often centering on 1 or 2 favourite topics. Sometimes a word or phrase is repeated over and over. Usually there is a comprehension deficit despite apparent superior verbal skills. Non verbal communication, both expressive and receptive is often impaired.

    SOCIAL INTERACTION


    There tends to be impairment in a 2 way social interaction due to an inability to understand the rules governing social behaviour. A lack of empathy with other and little to no eye contact may be evident. Can appear to be stuck on the egocentric stage of social and emotional development. They tend to perceive the world exclusively from their own point of view. Although interested in social relationships often social contact is made inappropriately.

    SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR


    Is often naive and peculiar. Can tend to be intensely attached to particular possessions often engaging in repetitive activities. Resistant to change, coping best when life is predictable. They prefer structure and may concentrate exclusively on matter in which they are interested. Are often known as loners who never quite fit in because of eccentric behaviour, peculiar ways of speaking and a lack of social skills.

    COMMON FEATURES



    Excellent rote memory, absorbs facts easily. General performs well with maths science and reading. May be anxious and unable to cope with criticism or imperfection. Often the victims of teasing and bullying leading to withdrawal into isolated activities. Can appear to be clumsy and have an unusual gait or stance. Often seen as odd or eccentric. Language appears good but may have limited content and poor social understandnjg. Self interested and lacks empathy.

    From Autism Victoria
    Last edited by Lulu; June 21st, 2010 at 09:53 AM. Reason: ading info

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    Thank you Lulu

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    Not a critique of your explanation Lulu, that's the diagnostic criteria to a tee. But just wanted to add (in a venty kind of way), why, oh why is there still never any mention of sensory issues??!!

    Sorry. Diagnosing a gorgeous Aspy kiddle at work at the moment and sure, he's just on the spectrum but the sensory issues are driving the poor love to distraction and the pead will not recognise that it's part and parcel. Just my little professional vent. As you were!

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    That information came from Autism Victoria, I should edit that in.

    FWIW - I thought DS was just on the spectrum and had mostly sensory issues. It turns out he was higher on the scale than expected and I'm seeing now that things you think are sensory are actually markers for Aspergers and come under the Social Behaviour title iykwim?

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    Soooooo much of that describes DD#1, although she's not extreme. We argue a lot because I really can't understand the world from her point of view, although she's getting old enough now that she is just starting to express the world as she sees it. Eyebrow raising stuff. She won't look people in the eye because it "makes her feel weird" or "makes her head hurt". She stands behind me to talk to me as a preference which drives me bonkers. She arranges things into patterns constantly because it "makes things look prettier".

    She has an amazingly high pain threshold and can do things to herself I wouldn't dream of - not drinking to the point of dehydration, not eating, biting the ends of her fingers off - and that's before all the accidental stuff she doesn't even notice.

    I still don't have a diagnoisis although they've recognised she fits a lot of the criteria because the ped wants an educational assessment and IQ test before moving on and we don't have the cash for it right now. Diagnosis is apparently a very slow process.

    Edit: and OMG, the rote memory! She remembers verbatim things from ages ago but never simple things like "close doors" (mainly because she seems immune to temperature variation and can't actually tell it is 18 inside and 5 outside and the door should be closed). She just discovered the internet and she'd MEMORISED every URL ever shown at the end of any of the kids shows she'd watched this year. And visited them all and played games on all of them and blew about a gig of download limit this weekend
    Last edited by deletedit; June 21st, 2010 at 10:54 AM.

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    Lulu - what makes you say 'higher on the spectrum than you thought'?

    There does seem to be a fair bit of crossover in symptoms - eg. sensory processing issues can lead to exposure anxiety and social avoidance or socially inappropriate behaviour. Communication issues can lead to anxiety and then bring out more restricted repetitive behaviours and so on. ASD is a shifty little bugger and it can be hard to pin down what is driving what behaviour sometimes. And what's more, what is ASD driven and what's just temperament or the child just being 5 (or whatever age).

    Rumpled Elf - are you eligible for any of the assessment funding available through FaHCSIA or the Enhanced Primary Care scheme? There have been some great developments recently providing more access to assessment and treatment. I'll see if I can find the details and pop back when I can. Also... just out of professional interest, it sounds like you kinda know that your DD has features of ASD and may meet criteria for diagnosis. Do you actually want a diagnosis? And if so, why? I ask as I get such varying responses to the prospect of diagnosis from the families I work with and it'd help to better understand the parent perspective. I think if it were my DD, I'd want it clear cut so it was there, and I could then actively work with it IYKWIM. But not actually experiencing it myself, I can't know.

    ETA: Here's the link to FaHSCIA. Still looking for the other one.
    http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/sa/disabil...s/default.aspx

  7. #7

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    The ped seems to be subsidised but this is an educational assessment and the woman they work with apparently just charges up front. And the waits are so long! Its all through the Pt Augusta hospital.

    We'd like to know if there is a reason she's so quirky or its just a genetic thing (her father has a LOT of the same quirks and he's got into some pretty serious trouble because of them over many many years), but mainly so we can get some decent help working with her. You can't get professional help without a diagnosis. All the 'standard' advice out there on the internet and in parenting books is pretty much useless, mainly because I'd never looked into ASD until recently so we've been trying pretty standard reward/punishment systems for the best part of a decade to get her to do stuff like play with toys (she never had the 'imaginative play' stage my toddler has been in for over a year), talk to you while looking at you, talk at appropriate times, ask questions when she wants something, and copy us or respond to peer pressure, which are all things that we now know are just bog standard normal things normal kids just *do* and not something you can learn so I've been wasting my energy trying to change her all these years when if I knew better I would have been out there trying to work out how to deal with her and not drive myself insane.

    Honestly, if I hadn't had another child as a SAHM I would have just thought all kids are like this, as being an only child and working mother and just dropping DD#1 at daycare or kindy and then going to work I've had virtually no exposure to other children until I had my second child. Now I have a toddler and am involved in preschool, playgroup, kindergym etc it is so painfully obvious DD#1 is different it isn't funny, especially as DD#2 is growing up and is just so incredibly different, yet so similar to every other 2.5yo we run into. Heck, I just assumed kids started talking in sentences at 6 months and got worried when DD#2 went well past the year mark with only a few dozen single words.

    The lack of empathy stands out the most as being something a professional could most help with. Some of the stuff she comes out with is just so wrong, and so hard to explain to her *why* it is wrong.

    Edit: Other than the couple of quirks - which are almost entirely communication/empathy related - she is an extremely well-behaved child. I don't have any of the problems with her or her little sister that seem to be standard naughty children behaviours. They're both as polite and nice as you can expect a 9 and 2yo to be. So it certainly isn't lack of discipline causing issues
    Last edited by deletedit; June 21st, 2010 at 05:06 PM. Reason: adding stuff

  8. #8

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    Tosh - he just seemed to be more sensory to me than anything else yanno?

    I was referring to the scale on the CARS assessment they use for diagnosis (mainly for funding). The scale is 1-60, with 31-35 indicating Mild/Moderate Autism (Aspergers range) and 35 to 60 indicating the range of severe autism.

    Absolutely on the crossover of symptoms, although the more I am learing about Aspergers and the more I write on my blog I can NOW look back and say aaaah ok - that's it there too. And its also the reason I went - yeah, no, yeah, no that he had any symptoms at all...

    ie, DS was known for sometimes abusing strangers in the street if they gave him a kindly smile. Then he starred in the end of year play at daycare where EVERYONE was looking at him and giggling. HUH? Because the play was scripted and he knew exactly what would happen next. I only just realised...

    Rumpled Elf, I'll come back in later - I hear you on the assessment expenses

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    Oh ok. I take it a Pead did the CARS? Have you had any other assessment? The CARS is a useful diagnostic tool when used in conjunction with detailed interview, observation, case-history and other psychometric assessment. It does not have great 'relaibility' which means you can come up with different scores over time and when used by different examiners. I wouldn't see that score as any significant or accurate reflection of exactly where on the spectrum your DD might fall. Mind you... we don't even know what that means. Yeah, you do get a sense for mild vs severe. For Savant Aspy vs severely affected ASD with intellectual disability. But in between it's just just a spectrum, it's almost 3D!

    The CARS is useful for getting a nice clear-cut number which will mean you're eligible for funding which is pretty much essential to get specialised help.

    Uh oh... bubba crying. BBL

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    He's had the full assessment done, for risk of repeating myself come into the http://www.bellybelly.com.au/forums/...atter-3-a.html, there are quite a few of us that have gone through/are going through the raft of testing and issues with schooling etc.
    And we get quite a few "enquiries" about Aspergers, hence me posting this info as a sticky.

    i read a great quote the other day - 'to know Aspergers, is NOT to know Aspergers" lol.
    Last edited by Lulu; June 21st, 2010 at 08:10 PM.

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    Great quote Lu. Guess it's easier to say this as someone looking in from the outside and not living it day in, day out... but I find Aspergers/Autism fascinating. The kids I work with have taught me so much and just when I think I'm beginning to understand how ASDs work, some little soul comes in and shakes up my assumptions.

    RE - thanks for sharing. I'm just in a bit of a bind at the moment doing a couple of diagnoses where the kids are not clear cut. One is a girl, and as you've seen, girls can present in quite an 'atypical' way so there's something definitely 'there' but you can't quite check all the ASD boxes. I'm not sure whether I'm actually doing her and her family a favour by calling it ASD as it's a label that will stay with her for life. But in the short term, will grant her the support she needs. Tricky.

    Anyway, sorry to hijack your thread Lulu. I get a bit flappy and excited when this subject comes up and I can't help myself but talk about it lots and forget to listen to other people... remind you of anything??!!

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    Yep, you should see me in Spotlight

  13. #13

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    but seriously (and I am about Spotlight, I have to rearrange things) are you a teacher or in early childhood something or other? I remember you told me once.

    My Paed/Psych team told me about the same for DS, could be PDD-NOS but in any case the help you can access for the funding helps no matter what.
    Since DS started school it changed many things for me, but I believe in the plasticity of the brain and that's keeping me going right now.

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    Santosha, thats why we had so many issues with Matilda, she is uber sensory, but there are other quirks which was enough to put her on the spectrum, she's not Asperger's but is Autistic.

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