Asperger's Syndrome (AS) is another pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) which, like autism, affects communication skills, social interactions and behavior. In the 1940's, at about the same time Dr. Leo Kanner was documenting the condition he called 'early infantile autism,' Hans Asperger, an Austrian psychiatrist, wrote about a similar pattern of behavior he observed in some of his young male patients. What is now referred to as Asperger's Syndrome is considered to be at the high end of the autism continuum, although there is some debate as to whether it should be thought of as a separate condition altogether.
More males than females are affected with both disorders. Difficulty with understanding social situations and relating to one's environment is also characteristic of both. However, by definition, individuals with AS have average or above-average intelligence and their language skills seem to develop normally during the preschool years. Although those with AS may have continuing feelings of being disconnected with their surroundings, many learn to use coping skills and become successful and productive adults.
Social - desires interaction, but does not understand social rules or non-verbal cues for conversation or play
Emotionally Fragile - self-critical, easily stressed has difficulty coping with demands of day-to-day life
Speech - formal or expressionless tone of voice rich vocabulary without understanding subtleties of language
Need for Sameness - sensitive to changes in daily routine may find comfort in repeating ritualistic behaviors
Limited Range of Interests - may be preoccupied with a particular subject continually talking or asking questions about one, sometimes eccentric or inexplicable, idea or thing. Very good memory for facts on one subject.