A Z Psychiatry 


Ray's Web Encyclopedia of Mental Health



Asperger's Syndrome


Asperger's Syndrome was first described by a Viennese Child Psychiatrist, Hans Asperger in 1944 under the term Autistic Psychopathy, a syndrome he described as a Personality Disorder. According to Asperger's observation, individuals with Asperger's Syndrome:

  • Usually began to speak at approximately the same time as in normal children
  • Acquired full command of grammar sooner or later 
  • Content of speech was abnormal and pedantic and included lengthy disquisitions on favorable subjects
  • Word or phrases were often repeated in a stereotyped fashion
  • Impaired two way social interaction
  • Totally ignored demands of the environment
  • Repetitive and stereotyped play
  • Isolated area of interests
  • Excellent logical abstract thinking
  • Capable of originality and creativity in chosen fields

Thus Asperger's original description of the syndrome applied to people with normal intelligence who exhibit a qualitative impairment in reciprocal social interaction and behavioral oddities without delays in language development. 

Many of these observations were later challenged by Wing (1981). In her opinion detailed history revealed that individuals with Asperger's Syndrome had :

  • Been slow to talk
  • Lack of communication behaviors in infancy
  • Overriding reliance on rote memory skills for there apparent originality and special abilities

Thus Wing along with many prominent recent researchers are of the view that Asperger's Syndrome is the high functioning end of the Autistic Continuum. Neither Asperger nor Wing specified detailed criteria for Asperger's Syndrome. DSM III R considered Asperger as a mild variant of Autisim. Though ICD 10 considered it as a distinct subtype of Pervasive Developmental Disorders, many of the criteria used to define it typified Autisim. Thus most of the evidence available are from studies which used diagnostic criteria which could not ensure differentiation between Asperger's Syndrome and Autisim.

Introduction | Epidemiology |Aetiology | Clinical Findings 

Differential Diagnosis | Treatment | Prognosis

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