Asperger syndrome (AS), also known as Asperger's syndrome or Asperger disorder, is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of linguistic and cognitive development. Although not required for diagnosis, physical clumsiness and atypical use of language are frequently reported.
The syndrome is named after the Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger who, in 1944, studied and described children in his practice who lacked nonverbal communication skills, demonstrated limited empathy with their peers, and were physically clumsy. The modern conception of Asperger syndrome came into existence in 1981 and went through a period of popularization, becoming standardized as a diagnosis in the early 1990s. Many questions remain about aspects of the disorder. For example, there is doubt about whether it is distinct from high-functioning autism (HFA);partly because of this, its prevalence is not firmly established. It has been proposed that the diagnosis of Asperger's be eliminated, to be replaced by a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder on a severity scale
The autism spectrum extends from “classic autism” — which lies at the lower end of the spectrum — through ASPERGER'S SYNDROME, which is characterized as being at the mildest and highest functioning end of the spectrum — or Pervasive Developmental Disorder — Continuum
AS reflects deviations or abnormalities in four aspects of development: (1) Social relatedness and social skills
(2) The use of language for purposes of communication
(3) Certain behavioral and stylistic characteristics such as repetitive or persevering features
(4) Limited, but intense, range of interests
AS is characterized by:
• high cognitive abilities - or, at least, “normal” IQ level • extending into the very superior range of cognitive ability • normal language function when compared to other autistic disorders • difficulties with pragmatic, or social language • a better prognosis than other Autism spectrum disorders.
A. Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:
(1) marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction
(2) failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
(3) 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)
(4) Lack of social or emotional reciprocity