What Is Asperger's Syndrome?

Asperger's syndrome colloquially refers to a high functioning form of autism.  People with Asperger's often lack social skills and sometimes have problems with motor regulation. However, their language and cognitive skills are largely intact. Those with Asperger's may lack the ability to understand the perspectives and feelings of others to varying degrees.

People with Asperger's often have an orientation toward detail and an interest in systemizing, which can look like obsessiveness. Some may show remarkable facility in a narrowly focused and usually non-social area, such as baseball statistics or train schedules.

Asperger’s is no longer an official diagnosis, though it was once formally classified as separate from other forms of autism in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The behavior ascribed to Asperger’s is now encompassed under the umbrella diagnosis “Autism Spectrum Disorder” in the latest edition, DSM-5.

Recent posts on Asperger's Syndrome

Swimming: The Key to Extending the Life Span in Autism?

By Mark Borigini M.D. on April 28, 2017 in Overcoming Pain
They may wander toward a body of water, perhaps drawn to the calming effect, touching it and then wading into pools, ponds, or rivers. And some will never wade out.

Solitude Is the School of Genius

Great scientists in the past have not only tended to be autistic, but also to be socially isolated.
"Picking Grass at the Bus Stop"/Charlene Croft/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Who Speaks for Autism?

By Barb Cohen on March 31, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
I would not want someone else to speak for me; to decide what I want and what I need; to judge whether my life is worth living. But autism is a family affair. We all need a voice.

Lena Dunham's Representations of Mental Illness

More recently viewers have seen a notable shift towards more accurate representations of mental illness. The controversial television series Girls on HBO leads the way.
Zach Hyman/Sesame Workshop

Sesame Street and Autism: The PG-Rated "Extras"

By Barb Cohen on March 22, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
Young children accept any playmate who is not hostile. It is the parents who usually communicate discomfort, caution or pity, and it is the parents who have the most to learn.

The Great Aspie

Loving a partner with Asperger’s can be both challenging and rewarding

An Autistic Saint?

Modern understanding of autistic spectrum disorders may shed light on the eccentric behavior of the Hindu saint, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.

Why Is It So Difficult to Stop Obsessing About Your Child?

By Meredith Resnick L.C.S.W. on February 21, 2017 in Adoption Stories
Do you obsess about your child? Is it wearing you out?
"Brain Clock"/bzztbomb/CC BY-NC 2.0

Autism, ADHD, and Executive Functioning: Parenting Insights

By Barb Cohen on February 09, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
We have tried visual strategies; we have tried planning discussions; we have tried scripts' we have tried first/then; we have tried IEP goals; and we have tried threats.
"La Mama de los Politos"/Jorge Elias/CC BY 2.0

Incubating a Political Conscience

By Barb Cohen on February 01, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
Figuring out when asserting yourself reflects courage and when it reflects imprudence takes, for many of us, a lifetime.
Abraham Lincoln/CC BY SA 3.0

Abraham Lincoln Tops List of Famous Jewish Swimmers!

By Barb Cohen on January 23, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
"Famous people with autism" lists are not created primarily to motivate our children. They exist to motivate us adults to adjust our own beliefs about autism.
"Johnathan Meath as Santa Clause"/Jonathan Meath/CC BY-SA 2.5

Learning to Tell a Lie

By Barb Cohen on January 12, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
Lying through your teeth requires more social awareness than most of us appreciate.

Autism and Creativity

By Barb Cohen on December 18, 2016 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
Autism is associated with rigid thinking, restricted interests, and a literal interpretation of speech and behavior. How could a person with these traits possibly be creative?

Hormones and Brain Regions Behind Eye Contact and Empathy

Clues to the hormonal and brain correlates of eye contact and empathy have been provided by studies of people with autistic symptoms.
"Wish List"/Sam and Barb Cohen

A Wish to Be an Aspie

By Barb Cohen on December 11, 2016 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
If your child needs the space to get up and walk around the classroom, what difference does it make if that need arises from AD/HD or ASD?

Gray & White Matter MRI Opposite in Autistics vs. Psychotics

Brain-imaging reveals that white and gray matter in autistic brains vary oppositely to schizophrenic brains, suggesting a new diagnostic tool only explained by the diametric model.

When Autism Parents Are Hesitant to Share the Diagnosis

By Darren Sush Psy.D., BCBA-D on December 05, 2016 in All the Pieces
How inappropriate speculation related to Donald Trump’s son, highlights the concerns of many parents of children with autism about how and when to share their child’s diagnosis.

Special-Needs Parenting and the Lowerarchy: Part Two

By Barb Cohen on December 04, 2016 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
The lowerarchy is more than a boundary; it is an edifice of alternating comfort and despair, always at the expense of other people and their children.
Looking downward/Barb Cohen

The Lowerarchy of Special-Needs Parenting

By Barb Cohen on November 27, 2016 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
Instead of using the rhetoric of “better than,” we shift to “not as bad-off as,” as in “my kid is not as bad-off as yours. "We’ve created a lowerarchy.
"Copenhagen broken bike"/Jens Cramer/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

"Mom, Am I Disabled?"

By Barb Cohen on November 18, 2016 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
Identifying a person as disabled entails locking that person into a world of very limited expectations. Having a disability describes all of us.

Autism Employment: The Importance of Mentors

By Chantal Sicile-Kira on November 17, 2016 in The Autism Advocate
If your child appears to have skills or a real interest in a specific area, someone who works in that field can help the child realize the application of his interests.
Reading bedtime stories with Sean-bear/ktbuffy/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

When May We Change the Topic From the Election?

By Barb Cohen on November 13, 2016 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
We will want the predictability of our routines. Even the meltdowns will reassure us that our own small corner of the world is recognizable—and still needs tending.
Maggie Bartlett/NHGRI

"No Thanks" to This Line of Autism Research

By Barb Cohen on November 04, 2016 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
My family’s DNA is a coveted commodity. Our older daughter is autistic, and researchers want our blood and saliva. Once upon a time I would have happily donated. Not now.

DSM-5 Diagnoses in Kids Should Always Be Written in Pencil

By Allen J Frances M.D. on October 31, 2016 in Saving Normal
Accurate diagnosis in kids is tough and time consuming. Misdiagnosis in kids is easy and fast- but the harms can last a lifetime.

Martial Arts Training Can Help Autism

By E. Paul Zehr Ph.D. on October 29, 2016 in Black Belt Brain
Evidence shows that martial arts training--and activities like horseback riding--focused on physical and mental integration can be effective in improving communication in autism.

How Do You Tell a Teenager That He Has Autism?

By Ugo Uche on September 24, 2016 in Promoting Empathy With Your Teen
Apparently, most teens who have not been educated on autism, view autism as a form of intellectual impairment which they have come to associate with social stigma.

Being Autistic at the Bottom of the World

By John Elder Robison on September 10, 2016 in My Life With Asperger's
Attitudes about autism vary greatly around the world.

The 8-Ball from Hell of ASD: Perfectionism

Perfectionism is a dilemma with two prongs: the self-imposed need to get things exactly right, and self-inflicted criticism in the face of inevitable failure.

Autistics as Undomesticated Humans

To the extent that humans are a self-domesticated species, autistics can be seen as less domesticated than others.

Back to School, Back to Stress: 5 Tips for Autism Parents

By Darren Sush Psy.D., BCBA-D on August 11, 2016 in All the Pieces
For many parents of children with autism and special needs, the days and weeks leading to “Back to School” can be extremely nerve-wracking.