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My Child Has Asperger’s Syndrome

How Do I Know If My Child Has Asperger’s Syndrome?

If you notice that something just does not seem right with your child, you are most likely quick to rush it to the paediatrician. When you notice that this something might actually be behavioural in nature, you might wonder if there is a chance that your child may be exhibiting signs of Asperger’s Syndrome (AS). There are many stern warnings that strongly urge parents to refrain from at home self diagnosis of any condition, and Asperger’s Syndrome is no different.

Rather than guessing at what could be little more than a developmental in between, you will be wise to seek out the help of a trained physician or specialist who deals in the intricacies presented by kids with AS.

Yet, how do you know if it is indeed time to visit your paediatrician and ask for an evaluation with respect to Asperger’s Syndrome?

First and foremost, you most likely noticed that the child is not as interactive with you her siblings or as you had imagined she should be. In addition to the foregoing, she may be very quiet, refrain from pointing, and has not a lot of interest in sharing things with you. In some cases your snuggling and hugging may also not be welcomed. If this child grows a bit older to show a marked difficulty in interacting with other children of her own age, you know that there is more to the problem than meets the eye. Although you cannot rule out that there are other diagnoses at hand, Asperger’s Syndrome does sound like it might be a viable solution.

Even as the child grows older, a noticeable preoccupation with one item or subject area may turn your youngster into a veritable authority on bus schedules or lions, but may prevent her from picking up other information that is common to children of her age group. She may converse at length about the feeing habits of the African lion, but not realize by virtue of the body language of her listeners, that the meticulous description of the activity is not welcomed by other little girls. This, of course, is a premier sign that your child may quite possible be a candidate for the diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome and you should get her evaluated at this point.

After a tentative diagnosis is made, other behaviours you may have disregarded in the past will also fall into place. There is the repetitive nature of some gestures or words and phrases, the need to rock back and forth or perform other movements for an extended period of time, and of course the child’s unwillingness and inability to deal with changes in routine.

These are the hallmark of children diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and while these symptoms alone do not make for a complete diagnosis, they do point toward an emerging picture that might quite possibly make your child a patient for the treatment and management of AS. The sooner you can get the diagnosis made, the earlier you will have the opportunity to begin a regimen of adaptive assistance that will make your child’s integration into the classroom setting a lot easier.

Helping Your Child Overcome Asperger’s Syndrome Related Apathy

Parents who have a child diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome become quite familiar with the apathy that threatens to overtake their child’s day to day activities. While it only appears once in a while, when it does become obvious, it is more or less a showstopper. The child with Asperger’s Syndrome who suddenly suffers from apathy is unable to comply with even the simplest requests. Initially parents may believe their child to be disobedient or defiant, but before long it becomes obvious that instead of disobedience, it is the condition that is to blame for the sudden lack of compliance.

There are steps parents can take for helping your child overcome Asperger’s Syndrome related apathy.

* Become a calm cheerleader. It may seem odd to applaud your child’s effort at making it from the bathroom to the kitchen table, but when you consider that for the child with Asperger’s Syndrome apathy this may be a huge and seemingly insurmountable hurdle, the necessity of a cheerleader soon becomes obvious. Remember that your child cannot be rushed at this point, but even the smallest advance can be lauded. Doing this has the added benefit of not causing a further shutdown in the individual, such as it is likely to occur if you, as the parent, suddenly vent your own frustrations on the subject.

* Understand that stress is the reason for apathy for those with Asperger’s Syndrome. Gaining a better understanding about what it is that may have caused the stress will go a long ways to helping you and the child understand the sudden occurrence of the apathy. In some cases the child may actually know why she or he does not wish to engage in a certain activity, but instead of sharing the feelings, the youngster may simply resolve to solve them alone by refusing to do certain things. To this end, dealing with the apathy on a verbal level may actually lead you to a number of underlying issues that also require your attention.

* Make the most of tactile stimulation. This is to be used carefully and advisedly but when you and your child work out a system that works, you will find that it is enormously effective. Combine a predetermined touch with a simple set of instructions. You may squeeze your child’s hand while suggesting that she close the closet door, if you notice her spacing out in front of the closet for a length of time.

In some cases you may have to go with your gut instinct. By and large the deceptive calm of the child with Asperger’s Syndrome who is seemingly frozen in apathy in the hallways is actually the home to a nervous and anxious mind. Help your child to relax and recuperate from the fear and anxiety he is experiencing. Suggest breathing exercises or simply massage his back while speaking to him in a calm voice. Although this is not a cure all, it goes a long way to simply ignoring the behaviour, or worse, becoming frustrated and unloading this parental frustration on the child.

Asperger’s Syndrome and Mental Illness

The Connection between Asperger’s Syndrome and Mental Illness

Hotly debated ever since being introduced into mainstream America, the connection between Asperger’s Syndrome and mental illness is a tenuous one; different psychiatrists and physicians have varying opinions not only with regard to the presentation of the various forms of mental illness but also whether they are caused by syndrome or simply exist coincidentally. On the other hand, the appearance of so many difference forms of mental illness does make a compelling case for an increased presentation of such ailments in individuals suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome concurrently.

Misdiagnosis of mental illness plays a huge role in these discussions. It has already been established that peer rejection of the Asperger’s Syndrome child will lead to a general distrust of peers and therefore a withdrawal from interactions. Clinical psychologists may misdiagnose this behaviour as paranoia or paranoid psychosis, when it truly is little more than a self imposed defence mechanism against taunts and negative peer interactions. This of course is hard to prove and even harder to dispute.

In the same vein, the child with Asperger’s Syndrome whose primary hobby is a love of all things having to do with a bus may be diagnosed – mistakenly – as having delusions with respect to the immense of a bus stopping at a particular locale, when in reality he or she is simply reciting a bus schedule.

Diagnosis of mental illness in conjunction with Asperger’s Syndrome should not be attempted until the full extent of the Asperger’s symptoms has been charted. On the other hand, there is a very fine line in Asperger’s patients where a preoccupation with an idea turns into wishful thinking. It is then that the rudiments of mental illness may well take hold.

Another condition that has given rise to much speculation is the repetitive nature of many movements and verbalizations of Asperger’s patients. It is most difficult to differentiate these from those brought on obsessive compulsive disorders. Withdrawal and introversion have been considered part and parcel of a depressive illness as well, but at times they are the simple protective mechanisms against a group of peers that would not readily accept the patient as a child. Once again, diagnosis cannot be reached conclusively unless a complete history of the illness and the patient’s life is available.

Quite possibly the best course of action is a watchfulness with respect to signs and symptoms of mental illness and consultation of a psychiatrist familiar with Asperger’s Syndrome and the workings of the disorder. Whenever possible, a copy of medical records should be provided as part of the interview. This might not completely prevent false diagnoses, but it will greatly curtail those mental illness claims that are not entirely grounded in clinical reality and are more an expression of a behavioural coping mechanism.

The latter are the workings of a sound mind seeking to protect itself and the body it inhabits from harm brought to it by peer groups, while actual mental illness does not usually have this kind of foundation and instead seems to be almost random.