In the 1940s, Dr. Leo Kanner of Johns Hopkins Hospital and other US researchers used the term autism to refer to children with withdrawn behavior and other social and emotional problems. Dr. Hans Asperger, a German scientist, identified a milder form of autism that is called Asperger syndrome (AS).
In fact there are five PDDs or pervasive developmental disorders that are referred to as autism spectrum disorders or ASDs.
These disorders are identified by varying degrees of behavioral impairments which imply a spectrum. In fact, children and adults are said to be on the spectrum when diagnosed with autism.
It is said that one in every 150 children fall within the spectrum when they are diagnosed with this developmental disability. The so-called bible of psychiatry is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM for short. This is used to classify and diagnose mental disorders including autism.
Children with Asperger syndrome often have above average intelligence, and they want to be socially interactive but simply do not know how. For more information, you may be interested in a more detailed description of the Symptoms Of Aspergers In Children.
One major distinguishing symptom is an obsessive interest in one object or topic. For example, a child with AS may become an expert on vacuum cleaners, and they will want to know everything about vacuum cleaners. Their conversations will be about nothing but vacuum cleaners, and they will appear to be somewhat professorial due to their expertise and technical vocabulary.
These children usually do not understand the emotions of others, and they do not understand facial expressions and body language. Sometimes physical clumsiness and uncoordinated movement is reported as a symptom. In fact, delays in motor development such as crawling and walking late may be the first indication of the disorder.
Asperger syndrome is sometimes diagnosed in adults who seek help for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression or other mental health conditions.
Children with AS may develop depression or anxiety as young adults.
Other conditions associated with AS are attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), certain tic disorders such as Tourette syndrome, depression and anxiety disorders.
People with AS may refer to themselves as aspies, and thanks to the Internet they communicate with each other in a way that was not possible before.
Several organizations can be found online to provide social contacts, support, resources and an overall sense of community for teens and adults. GRASP stands for Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership which serves folks online with autism. Another online community is Wrong Planet that was started in 2004. It has articles, a forum, a chatroom and even a dating section.