Mental Health and Asperger's Syndrome

autism
Learn more about Asperger's Syndrome

Han Asperger first identified Asperger’s syndrome in 1944. This disorder is often referred to as a high functioning form of autism. Although some sources say as many as 10 in 300 children have some level of autism, the controversy surrounding identification and diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome remains a challenge. Asperger’s syndrome came into common usage in 1981 and was recognized among clinical practitioners with the reclassification of Asperger’s as part of the autism spectrum syndromes in the DSM IV in 1994. With the DSM-5 revision of 2013, Asperger’s was no longer a distinct disorder, but rather part of the autism spectrum.

Teens with Asperger’s syndrome may be at risk for alcohol and drug abuse. They may try to self-medicate their symptoms or use drugs or alcohol as a way to fit in better socially with their peers.

Classification

  • Asperger’s, Autism & the New DSM – This report discusses the debate concerning labeling Asperger’s an educational disability. The debate around educational issues, may lead to changes in the classification of Asperger’s in the new DSM..
  • Syndromes in Disagreement – This report addresses the concern that changes in the classification of Asperger’s in the new DSM-5 may prevent children functioning at the high end of the spectrum from having access to services the need to learn equally with others having recognized disabilities.

Characteristics

  • A Family Guide to Asperger’s – This handout provides the clinical definition for Asperger’s syndrome and explains the difficulty that may be encountered when seeking a diagnosis.
  • Asperger's Syndrome - Symptoms - While the symptoms and characteristics of Asperger’s can vary greatly among individuals, this article on the WebMD site lists symptoms often seen among children, teens and adults.

Causes

  • What Causes Asperger’s Syndrome? – According to the National Institute of Neurologic Syndromes and Stroke, new imaging technology has revealed both functional and structural differences in a certain region of the brain.
  • Causes of Asperger’s Syndrome – Information on the causes of Asperger’s syndrome including genetic and epigenetic influences.

Screening

  • Free Autism Screening Tool – This free screening tool may be helpful to teens and adults who suspect they may be dealing with undiagnosed autism or Asperger’s syndrome.
  • Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers – Autism Speaks provides this checklist and other screening resources for parents who suspect their child may be autistic.
  • The Autism Quotient AQ Test – This online screening tool may be helpful for self-diagnosis by adults or as a way to open communication with a health care provider if you or someone you know seems to show signs of Asperger’s Syndrome.

Diagnosis

  • Asperger’s Syndrome: Tests & Diagnosis- A combination of tests and evaluation by a team of specialists is often needed for diagnosis. Many people remain undiagnosed for years. In addition to testing, signs and symptoms must also match criteria set out in the latest DSM.
  • Yale Researchers Examine Impact of New Diagnostic Criteria – Obtaining an accurate diagnosis for Asperger’s is already a challenge. Now the new revisions in the latest edition of the DSM may make it even more difficult, according to some researchers.
  • Asperger’s – Early diagnosis may help families and children dealing with Asperger’s to cope better. There is no medical test to identify this disorder and diagnosis depends on criteria outlined in the DSM.

History