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The following information is for parents, families and friends of children who have already been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. If you are concerned about your child's behaviour, please see your family doctor. Do not try to make a diagnosis yourself.
Asperger's Syndrome is a part of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and refers to children who have a high level of intellectual ability and function. Please read the Kids Health Info factsheet: Autism Spectrum Disorder for more information about the various forms of autism.
Signs and symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome may include:
The intellectual ability of children with Asperger's Syndrome can range from 'normal' to superior intellectual (IQ) levels. They often show a high level of language skills, but some may experience delays in learning to speak.
As with any form of ASD, no two people with Asperger's Syndrome show exactly the same signs.
A child with Asperger's Syndrome may not be identified and therefore diagnosed until primary school because of their high level of language and special interests.
Children with Asperger's Syndrome are likely to experience social difficulties, such as participating in day-to-day life (e.g. playing with others), during this time. They are also more likely than the general population to experience medical conditions such as epilepsy, anxiety or depression.
The cause of Asperger's Syndrome in children is unknown. At this time, genes are thought to be involved. Research is continuing, with the aim of finding the cause and more treatment options.
A diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome is based on a specialist paediatrician and a psychologist assessing your child. Because the symptoms vary greatly from person to person, there is no single test for Asperger's Syndrome. If you are concerned about your child's behaviour, please see your family doctor and ask for a referral to a specialist paediatrician or psychologist.
The Royal Children's Hospital Autism Assessment Team includes a paediatrician, psychologist and speech pathologist. The team can assess your child's speech, language and other forms of development. An assessment includes a parent interview and observation of your child's behaviour while in the company of other children.
Your child's hearing will also be checked as this may be a cause of their difficulties. Your child may be tested for medical conditions that are known to be associated with ASD. Your doctor will discuss the need for any tests with you. Please ask if you are unsure or confused about any of the tests and procedures required.
Treatment varies to meet the individual needs of the child and the family. A child showing signs of Asperger's Syndrome will be referred to the relevant specialists, depending on the nature of the impairment/s.
Treatment may include:
An action plan for the family may include information resources, parent training, strategies for family support and an action plan for the child.
The needs of the child and the family may change over time, and a child's treatment will change to meet these needs.
Visit the following websites for more information:
Developed by the RCH Dept of Quality and Improvement, with thanks to RCH psychologists, paediatrician and General Practitioners for their significant input. First published: August 2008. Updated December 2012.
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