Asperger's syndrome

Asperger's syndrome is a condition where young children experience impaired social interactions and develop limited repetitive patterns of behavior. Motor milestones may be delayed and clumsiness is often observed.

Alternative Names

Pervasive developmental disorder

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Hans Asperger labeled this disorder "Autistic Psychopathy" in 1944, and the cause is still unknown. There is a possible relation to autistic disorder ( autism ). Some researchers believe that Asperger's sydrome is simply a mild form of autism. The child with Asperger's shows below-average nonverbal communication gestures, fails to develop peer relationships, has an inability to express pleasure in other people's happiness, and lacks the ability to reciprocate emotionally in normal social interactions. The condition appears to be more common in boys. There are likely genetic factors, but some theories suggest a prenatal infection may be to blame. While people with Asperger's syndrome are frequently socially inept, many have above average intelligence and they may excel in fields like computer programming and science.

Signs and tests

Physical, emotional, and mental evaluations are usually performed to rule out other causes.


Treatment depends on the patient's level of adaptive functioning. A high IQ will bring a better prognosis. For patients with severe impairment, treatment is similar to the treatment for autistic disorder .

Expectations (prognosis)

As with most developmental disorders, the long-term outcome and prognosis will vary according to the nature of the underlying problem and the interventions used to support continued development.

Calling your health care provider

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if a child is non-responsive to people or the environment, a child has odd or peculiar speech, or a child exhibits behavior that may lead to self-harm.

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