What is Asperger’s Syndrome?
Asperger’s Syndrome is no longer given as a diagnosis - instead, people who would previously have been described as having Asperger’s are now given a diagnosis of ASD or autism spectrum disorder. That said, there are many people with a previous diagnosis of Asperger’s and it can be useful to know more about it.
Children with a previous diagnosis of Asperger’s have an IQ within the normal range and usually display good language skills. They struggle with communication and often develop special interests that can become obsessive, and may display repetitive behaviour.
What are the signs of Asperger’s in a child?
Asperger’s disorder is not an intellectual disability, and children diagnosed with it usually have an IQ within the normal range. They may struggle with non-verbal skills though and may also be clumsy.
A child with Asperger’s disorder may have advanced language skills for their age, and usually develop a very in-depth knowledge of their particular favourite things. They may struggle with social cues though, and often take things literally which makes it hard for them to understand humour. Children with Asperger’s value routine and order and may struggle when these are disrupted.
How is Asperger’s different from autism?
Possibly the most obvious difference between autism and Asperger’s is that children with Asperger’s do not have a delay with language and communication where a child with autism spectrum disorder will experience a delay and may in fact never communicate verbally.
While some children with autism do have an intellectual disability, an Asperger’s diagnosis means there is no significant cognitive concern. Most people with Asperger’s have average or even above-average intelligence.
Can a child with Asperger’s syndrome attend mainstream school?
Children with Asperger’s syndrome are usually of average or above-average intelligence and can learn well in lessons, but may struggle with routine changes which can make mainstream school difficult. They may also have sensory issues and be sensitive to loud noises, or different smells or textures.
A child with Asperger’s may require accommodations such as speech and language therapy to help them with communication, and to help them with conversation skills. They may also require occupational therapy to help them to make sense of things. This may also help them to socialise well with other children. With these additional services in place children can do well in a mainstream school.
The decision over whether to attend a mainstream or a special school is one to be made on an individual basis; some children cope better with the demands of mainstream school, while others will thrive in a school designed specifically for children with autism spectrum disorder.