F.A.Q.

What is Asperger Syndrome?

Asperger Syndrome can be defined as a neurobehavioral disorder of genetic base, included in the autism spectre and with specific diagnostic criteria. This dysfunction is manifested mainly by changes in social interaction, communication and behaviour.

What are the warning signs?

A specialised medical consultation (developmental paediatrician, paediatric neurologist, psychologist) is essential to make a proper diagnosis. However, there are a few characteristics and signs that may become warning signs. You should be aware if your child:

  • Has delayed language and speech development;
  • Has difficulty in perceiving nonverbal cues or communications;
  • Has pedantic speaking, distinctive characteristics in rhythm and intonation, prosody and echolalia;
  • Interprets language literally and has difficulty comprehending implied meanings;
  • Has difficulty thinking about abstract concepts;
  • Has problems with social interactions, especially with his peers;
  • Has difficulty following social norms;
  • Has trouble understanding others' feelings and expressing his feelings;
  • Has unsuitable social and emotional behaviours;
  • Struggles or is unable to use imagination and to play symbolically;
  • Has a limited range of interests;
  • Is obsessed with specific topics;
  • Has repetitive behaviours and routines;
  • Has difficulties in adapting to sudden routine changes;
  • Resists to change;
  • Has odd or eccentric behaviours;
  • Has delayed motor development or lack of bodily coordination;
  • Has Fine motor difficulties;
  • Has hypersensitivity to noises, odours, flavours, textures, lights, etc.;
Has low tolerance to frustration;

What are the most common characteristics?

Among the most common characteristics in children, youths or adults, we can highlight:

  • The difficulties in social interaction;
  • The problems to communicate verbally and nonverbally;
  • The literal interpretation of language;
  • The difficulty showing empathy;
  • The repetitive behaviours and routines;
  • The limited range of interests;
  • The unusual style of speaking;
  • The hypersensitivity to sensory stimuli;
The motor clumsiness;

Are the warning signs the same for boys and girls?

The warning signs are the same for both sexes. However, the symptoms on girls are subtler and often are disguised by their female condition whereby being shy and discrete is a quality.

How to diagnose?

If your child has some of the warning signs, we recommend that the child/teenager goes to a specialised medical consultation (developmental paediatrician, paediatric neurologist, psychologist) for the doctor to do a global evaluation of the physical or psychological characteristics. The early diagnosis is essential so it could be suggested an immediate and direct intervention on the specific areas in which the child has difficulties, establishing a proper monitoring and the necessary resources to maximise their potentialities that sometimes are surprising.
The diagnosis is also important because if other development disorders related to Asperger Syndrome, such as hyperactivity and attention deficit,  are diagnosed it enables an intervention on those conditions as well.

Is there a treatment?

There is no known cure for Asperger Syndrome, but there is a treatment for this disease considered an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
If another diagnosis co-exists, such as hyperactivity or attention deficit, it may be necessary the use of medication. Early intervention should happen as soon as possible depending on the warning signs that may be identified on the child. This way, the child can be supported and helped to circumvent specific characteristics and often overcome them.
When the intervention comes too late, sometimes, it is hard to overcome said characteristics which result in an inflexibility common on people with Asperger Syndrome, especially regarding social skills. The best treatment is to intervene as soon as possible and try to find an objective child-centred intervention program. It is also essential to have in mind that every child is different, and each case is unique, so there isn't a 'solution package'. Consequently, the intervention must be personalised and adapted to each child.

About us

APSA- Portuguese Association for Asperger Syndrome is a non-profit Private Social Solidarity Institution (IPSS) that was created by a group of parents in Lisbon on 7 November 2003. Our Mission: To promote the support and social integration of people with Asperger's Syndrome (AS), fostering the conditions to an independent and dignified life.

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