What does Asperger Syndrome look like?
Characteristics of Asperger Syndrome include:
- Finding social situations difficult
- Finding it difficult to make friends
- Disliking ‘small talk’
- Finding it difficult to work out what other people are feeling
- Preferring to talk about oneself or a favourite topic of interest
- Being unintentionally rude
- Being good at identifying details and facts
- Being able to focus for long periods of time
- Having intense, narrow interests
- Preferring routines
What is Asperger Syndrome?
Asperger Syndrome is a form of autism. Autism is characterised by a ‘triad’ of impairments in these areas:
- Social and emotional
- Language and communication
- Flexibility of thought
Autism is often described as existing on a spectrum since it is found in those across the range of cognitive (mental) abilities. The term ‘Asperger Syndrome’ is reserved for use with those individuals who have cognitive abilities which are better-developed.
Criteria for the diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome are often taken from the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The term Asperger Syndrome is still used in ICD-10 but in May 2013, DSM-IV was superseded by DSM-V. In DSM-V, the terms ‘autistic disorder’, ‘Asperger Disorder’, ‘childhood disintegrative disorder’ and ‘PDD-NOS’ have been replaced by the term ‘autism spectrum disorder’. The vast majority of individuals diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome under the DSM-IV criteria should meet the criteria of ‘autism spectrum disorder’ and, in practice, the terms ‘Asperger Disorder’ and ‘Asperger Syndrome’ will continue to be used.
What does an assessment involve?
- Diagnosis involves the use of the Adult Asperger Assessment.
- Three questionnaires are completed by the client before the assessment.
- A close relative is asked to complete a further questionnaire.
- With the client’s permission, relevant medical information is gathered from the GP.
- If the information collected suggests that the client is likely to have Asperger Syndrome, then a diagnostic interview takes place which the client attends along with a relative.
- It is usually possible to determine whether a client has Asperger Syndrome on the day of an assessment.
- A detailed report is produced explaining the findings of the assessment and providing recommendations.
Further information about Autistic Spectrum Disorders is available from the National Autistic Society.