Asperger Syndrome

Apakah Asperger Syndrome ?

Oleh  : Barbara L. Kirby

Asperger Syndrome atau (Asperger’s Disorder) adalah suatu kelainan neurobiologis yang diberi nama seorang dokter Vienna, Hans Asperger, pada tahun 1944 menuliskan makalah yang berisi sekumpulan perilaku pada beberapa anak laki-laki muda yang mempunyai IQ dan perkembangan bahasa normal, tetapi menunjukkan perilaku mirip autis dan tercatat kurang dalam kemampuan sosial dan komunikasi. Karena makalah dituliskan era tahun 1940, baru tahun 1994 ditambahkan kedalam daftar DSM IV pada tahun 1994, maka baru beberapa tahun terakhir Asperger Syndrome dikenal oleh para profesional dan para orangtua.

Individu dengan AS dapat menunjukkan karakteristik yang bervariasi dan kelainan dapat ringan sampai berat. Orang-orang dengan AS menunjukkan kekurangan dalam kemampuan sosial. Individuals with AS can exhibit a variety of characteristics and the disorder can range from mild to severe. Persons with AS show marked deficiencies in social skills, have difficulties with transitions or changes and prefer sameness. They often have obsessive routines and may be preoccupied with a particular subject of interest. They have a great deal of difficulty reading nonverbal cues (body language) and very often the individual with AS has difficulty determining proper body space. Often overly sensitive to sounds, tastes, smells, and sights, the person with AS may prefer soft clothing, certain foods, and be bothered by sounds or lights no one else seems to hear or see. It’s important to remember that the person with AS perceives the world very differently. Therefore, many behaviors that seem odd or unusual are due to those neurological differences and not the result of intentional rudeness or bad behavior, and most certainly not the result of “improper parenting”.
By definition, those with AS have a normal IQ and many individuals (although not all), exhibit exceptional skill or talent in a specific area. Because of their high degree of functionality and their naivetÈ, those with AS are often viewed as eccentric or odd and can easily become victims of teasing and bullying. While language development seems, on the surface, normal, individuals with AS often have deficits in pragmatics and prosody. Vocabularies may be extraordinarily rich and some children sound like “little professors.” However, persons with AS can be extremely literal and have difficulty using language in a social context.
At this time there is a great deal of debate as to exactly where AS fits. It is presently described as an autism spectrum disorder and Uta Frith, in her book AUTISM AND ASPERGER’S SYNDROME, described AS individuals as “having a dash of Autism”. Some professionals feel that AS is the same as High Functioning Autism, while others feel that it is better described as a Nonverbal Learning Disability. AS shares many of the characteristics of PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder; Not otherwise specified), HFA, and NLD and because it was virtually unknown until a few years ago, many individuals either received an incorrect diagnosis or remained undiagnosed. For example, it is not at all uncommon for a child who was initially diagnosed with ADD or ADHD be re-diagnosed with AS. In addition, some individuals who were originally diagnosed with HFA or PDD-NOS are now being given the AS diagnosis and many individuals have a dual diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism.
For your information, I’ve included below a copy of the DSM IV Description. In addition, I’ve also added a more down-to-earth description that was originally posted to the autism listserv.

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Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV) Description (p77)A description provided by Lois

Freisleben-Cook

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Diagnostic Criteria For 299.80 Asperger’s Disorder

A. Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:
- marked impairments in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction
- failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
- a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g. by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people)
- lack of social or emotional reciprocity

B. Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:
- encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus
- apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals
- stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)
- persistent preoccupation with parts of objects

C. The disturbance causes clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning

D. There is no clinically significant general delay in language (e.g., single words used by age 2 years, communicative phrases used by age 3 years)

E. There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self-help skills, adaptive behavior (other than social interaction), and curiosity about the environment in childhood

F. Criteria are not met for another specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder or Schizophrenia

su.-

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