How Do Doctors Come To An Asperger Syndrome Diagnosis?

By Gabrielle Seunagal

Updated June 28, 2019

Asperger's Syndrome is a high-functioning category on the autism spectrum disorder. Individuals with Asperger's Syndrome may struggle with social interactions and interpersonal communications, despite their intelligence. In previous years, physicians regarded Asperger's Syndrome as a separate disorder from autism; however, that changed after the 2013 updated version of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Reviewing Asperger's Syndrome

Before continuing any further, it's important to understand Asperger's Syndrome. This means having a full grasp on the symptoms of this disorder and other things to be aware of. In the past, there have been certain confusions and misconceptions in regards to Asperger's Syndrome and people who have it.

Symptoms

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When dealing with Asperger's Syndrome, there are a variety of symptoms which will typically be manifested. An impacted individual may partake in intense focus and repetition of the same activities over and over again. Additional indicators of Asperger's Syndrome include struggling to pick up on nonverbal communication signals from other human beings. More often than not, symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome present themselves earlier rather than later in one's childhood.

Someone with Asperger's Syndrome may also cling to routine and familiarity. Changes could be upsetting, and displays of emotions may be notably restricted or monotonic. It is also not uncommon for indicators of Asperger's Syndrome to include poor organizational skills, moodiness, and sensitivity to bright lights, loud sounds, or strong tastes.

Causes

At this time, there is no known cause for Asperger's Syndrome, seeing as it exists on the autism spectrum. However, there are various factors which are linked to Asperger's. Being aware of these factors is always helpful and can make a tremendous difference.

According to research, hereditary factors can play a role in the development of Asperger's Syndrome. Genetic disorders in a person's DNA can make them more susceptible to the development of Asperger's, as can genes which affect the communication of brain cells. Of course, the extent of these various genetic disorders can play a role in how severe Asperger's Syndrome is for an impacted person.

The quality of brain development during the time in the mother's womb has also been linked to Asperger's Syndrome how brain cells form impacts how the brain is wired and how thought and behavioral circuits are controlled. This physical impact has been made, due to the difference between the brains of people with Asperger's Syndrome and the brains of those without this disorder.

Finally, environment factors, particularly during a person's earliest years of life, share connections of the development of Asperger's. Exposure to pollution in the air, viral infections, and prenatal issues are believed to impact whether or not someone winds up developing Asperger's Syndrome as time goes on. Many studies are still being conducted to determine further and additional causes.

Risk Factors

Understanding the risk factors associated with Asperger's Syndrome is always helpful, due to the seriousness of the disorder. First and foremost, male children are likelier to develop Asperger's than females. Further risk factors include a premature birth of ten weeks or earlier, older parents, the existence of autistic relatives, and additional mental or medical health complications.

An Overview Of A Doctor's Diagnosis

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A parent who believes that their child may have Asperger's Syndrome should get an official diagnosis from a doctor. Now, for a doctor to make a certain and concise diagnosis, there are steps which will need to be followed. First and foremost, the doctor will ask about the child's abilities to focus, speak, and communicate with others. Parents should also be prepared to let doctors know about any symptoms which their child may be experiencing.

Following the inquiries above, the child will then need to go through an evaluation process. This involves neurological assessments, learning style evaluations, IQ tests, psychomotor function tests, family history, and more. Due to the series of factors which play a role in Asperger's Syndrome, it's important for doctors to make sure they cover all angles and find out as much information as they can.

Earlier Is Better

Due to Asperger's Syndrome status as a developmental disorder, parents or guardians are advised to get a diagnosis as early as possible if their child presents relevant symptoms. This makes it much easier to offset some of the delays which may worsen if Asperger's goes on for too long without the proper care and treatment. The earlier doctors can intervene and be of assistance, the better for the child.

Treatment For Asperger's Syndrome

A diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome is not the end all be all. As a matter of fact, individuals with Asperger's can still go on to lead meaningful and productive lives. Of course, this will involve the proper treatment and work with the right specialists. Because every situation and diagnosis is different, there is no one size fits all solution for Asperger's. However, there are a series of treatment choices which have been linked to improving the lives of people who live with this disorder.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

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Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of treatment which involves thought improvement and emotional control. This type of help will be especially important, due to the challenges that Asperger's presents with social skills and reading nonverbal communication cues from other people. A cognitive behavioral therapist can help someone with Asperger's Syndrome learn how to control and prevent emotional outbursts or unhealthy fixations. The benefits and results of cognitive behavioral therapy won't manifest overnight, but in time, behavioral improvements will become apparent.

Social Skills Therapy

Social skills therapy is another form of treatment which can truly be of value to people with Asperger's Syndrome. This manner of therapy focuses on appropriate methods of communication and healthy interactions with other human beings. These abilities may be more difficult with a diagnosis of Asperger's; however, people with this disorder typically learn well from observing the behavior of others within their environment.

Family Counseling

Combined with other forms of direct therapy, family counseling can be especially helpful for the parents or guardians of children with Asperger's Syndrome. While children with this disorder require special treatment and therapy, adults may also struggle with the diagnosis and be unsure of what changes they should make and how to make life easier for their child. A family counselor can truly make a difference and help parents or guardians understand which social skills would be most beneficial for their child.

Medication

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It's very important to note that there no medicine which cures Asperger's Syndrome at this time. However, there are certain medications which a doctor can prescribe to relieve certain symptoms which are associated with Asperger's, such as depression or anxiety. Some people may find therapy to be more beneficial, while others with this disorder do well with both therapy and the right medication. Medication which is given to someone with Asperger's Syndrome should always be prescribed by a professional doctor and no one else.

In Closing

There are no two cases of Asperger's Syndrome, which are precisely the same. Different people are more susceptible to various risks factors; some people with Asperger's will experience higher or lower symptom severity than others with the same disorder. While there is no known cure for Asperger's, parents and guardians should be mindful of the applicable causes and risk factors.

Therapy plays a significant role in helping people with Asperger's because it serves as a form of support. Learning various social skills, emotional control, and how to communicate with others will make such an amazing difference in both the lives of people with Asperger's Syndrome and the ones who love and care for them.

When dealing with Asperger's Syndrome, families with an affected relative would do well to partake in therapy as well. While this is not a direct requirement, it can ease the adjustment process and make it easier for people with Asperger's to successfully communicate with those around them. When someone has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, having a family that is capable of being communicative and helpful will only make life better for everyone involved.

The Importance Of Asking For Help

The benefits of therapy are well-documented, regardless of whether or not you or someone you know has Asperger's Syndrome. The fact of the matter is that challenges can come in various forms. Having a reliable network and a healthy support system makes all the difference in the world. At the end of the day, everyone needs help sometimes. One of the bravest things anyone can do is ask for help when they know they need it.

Here at BetterHelp, we are proud of our amazing team of therapists. Regardless of who you are, what you're dealing with, or what diagnosis you do or don't have, we're here to work with you and provide the best possible service. Challenges, roadblocks, and difficulties are inevitable parts of life, but they're a lot easier to deal with when you have others in your corner.

If you're ready to take the next step towards making the rest of your life the best of your life, you can click here to get started with BetterHelp.


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