Asperger's Syndrome - Symptoms
Although there are many possible symptoms of
Asperger's syndrome, the main symptom is significant
trouble with social situations. Your child may have mild to severe symptoms or
have a few or many of these symptoms. Because of the wide variety of symptoms,
no two children with Asperger's are alike.
Symptoms during childhood
Parents often first
notice the symptoms of Asperger's syndrome when their child starts preschool
and begins to interact with other children. Children with Asperger's syndrome
- Not pick up on social cues and may lack inborn
social skills, such as being able to read others' body language, start or
maintain a conversation, and take turns talking.
- Dislike any
changes in routines.
- Appear to lack empathy.
- Be unable
to recognize subtle differences in speech tone, pitch, and accent that alter
the meaning of others' speech. So your child may not understand a joke or
may take a sarcastic comment literally. And his or her speech may be flat
and hard to understand because it lacks tone, pitch, and
- Have a formal style of speaking that is advanced for his or
her age. For example, the child may use the word "beckon" instead of "call" or
the word "return" instead of "come back."
- Talk a lot, usually about
a favorite subject. One-sided conversations are common. Internal thoughts are
- Avoid eye contact or
stare at others.
- Have unusual facial expressions or
- Be preoccupied with only one or few interests, which he
or she may be very knowledgeable about. Many children with Asperger's syndrome
are overly interested in parts of a whole or in unusual activities, such as
designing houses, drawing highly detailed scenes, or studying astronomy. They
may show an unusual interest in certain topics such as snakes, names of stars,
- Have delayed motor development. Your child may be
late in learning to use a fork or spoon, ride a bike, or catch a ball. He or
she may have an awkward walk. Handwriting is often poor.
heightened sensitivity and become overstimulated by loud noises, lights, or
strong tastes or textures. For more information about these symptoms, see
sensory processing disorder.
A child with one or two of these symptoms does not
necessarily have Asperger's syndrome. To be diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome,
a child must have a combination of these symptoms and significant trouble with
Although the condition is in some ways
autism, a child with Asperger's syndrome typically has
normal language and intellectual development. Also, those with Asperger's
syndrome typically make more of an effort than those with autism to make
friends and engage in activities with others.
Symptoms during adolescent and teen years
symptoms persist through the teen years. And although teens with Asperger's can
begin to learn those social skills they lack, communication often remains
difficult. They will probably continue to have difficulty "reading" others'