Asperger's syndrome: 10 signs to identify this disorder
The Asperger syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects social functioning, communication and language, motor skills and the activities and interests of the individual who suffers, despite the fact that intelligence is normal (and even above average).
Currently Asperger's Syndrome has been discontinued from the diagnostic criteria manual DSM-5 and this category has become encompassed within the autism spectrum disorders. However, its causes, symptoms and signs can be explained here to put in context a diagnostic label that was widely used during the last decades.
The cause of Asperger's Syndrome seems to be dysfunction of various brain circuits , and the affected areas are the amygdala, the frontostriate and temporal circuits and the cerebellum, structures that are involved in the development of the social relationship.
10 signs to detect Asperger's Syndrome
Asperger's Syndrome affects between 3 and 7 of every 1000 children (from 7 to 16 years old) and there are more cases in children than in girls. The presence of a medium (high) intelligence can lead to undervaluing the difficulties and limitations presented by individuals suffering from this disorder.
Having a high IQ (intelligence quotient) is not a guarantee of a satisfactory life , since emotional and social intelligence is important to achieve personal, academic and professional success and it is essential to develop skills such as empathy, social judgment, common sense or the ability to negotiate.
Neurological functioning of Asperger's Syndrome
The characteristic way of thinking and understanding the world of people suffering from Asperger's Syndrome has caused much debate among experts. Currently, there seems to be some consensus in affirming that the peculiar psychological functioning of individuals suffering from this disorder can be explained from several theoretical models .
Although these models have great relevance, so far none of these theories has been able to explain the Asperger Syndrome in its entirety.
Deficit in the "Theory of the Mind"
The theory of mind refers to the ability to infer in other people's mental states : in their thoughts, desires, beliefs, etc., and use the information they receive to predict their behavior and find a meaning to their behavior. That is to say, that the theory of the mind refers to the ability to put oneself in the place of the other.
The studies carried out in this field indicate that people with Asperger's Syndrome can not formulate an explanation to the thought or behavior of others. The deficit of the theory of the mind causes the impossibility of explaining and understanding both the own behaviors and those of others and, therefore, not only is it impossible to predict what others will do and their intentions, but it affects most of the activities daily activities that influence the personal development and well-being of individuals suffering from this pathology.
Deficit of executive function
Executive function is the ability to maintain an appropriate set of problem solving strategies active in order to reach a future goal. Therefore, it is associated with intentionality, purpose and complex decision making (for example, impulse control, inhibition of inappropriate responses, etc.).
This seems to be the cause of the malfunction of the frontal lobe. People with Asperger's Syndrome have a deficit of executive functions, because their behavior and thinking is rigid, repetitive and persevering . Examples of this deficit can be: inability to make plans, organizational difficulties, etc.
Dysfunction of the Right Hemisphere
The Right Hemisphere (HD) is important for the processing of visuospatial information , for aspects related to language (intonation or prosody) and is related to the expression and interpretation of emotions.
HD dysfunction is related to problems in social life , such as the interpretation of gestures, problems in the intonation of the messages to be transmitted, problems with body posture or difficulties in the integration of coherent information. People with this disorder have difficulty grasping the emotional meaning of others, poor performance in tasks that require the integration of viso-motor information, and difficulties in the social relationship.
Signs to detect Asperger's Syndrome
There are many behaviors that may indicate the presence of Asperger's Syndrome. In summary, below are shown 10 characteristic signs of this disorder :
- Difficulties for social interaction and limited social relationships
- Lack of empathy with other people
- Difficulty understanding and understanding the world around them and the emotions of others
- They can react annoying to certain external stimuli: noise, images, light ...
- They can show motor delay and awkwardness in their movements
- Restricted, rigid, systematic and repetitive interests and activities
- Eccentric or unusual behavior
- They do not usually look into your eyes when they talk to you
- They speak a lot, in a high and peculiar tone, and use a pedantic, extremely formal language with an extensive vocabulary.
- They invent idiosyncratic words or expressions
- Sometimes they seem to be absent, absorbed in their thoughts