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Signs of Asperger's Syndrome

10 Signs Your Child May Have Asperger's Syndrome

Asperger's syndrome is a neurological disorder in the family of autism spectrum disorders. Because every child exhibits a different set of symptoms, there is no precise checklist of behaviors that must all be present for a diagnosis. Instead, there are many behaviors that may be signs of Asperger's syndrome. Here we've rounded up 10 of the common behaviors to watch for, as shared by moms whose kids have the condition.

1. Fixation on One Activity

Many children with Asperger's syndrome are preoccupied with a single or a few interests and focus on them for hours on end. As Circle of Moms member Karen R. shares: "The most common report from every parent I know . . . is that their kid fixated on something (their cars, their blue toys, their books) and played or attended [to] that thing for an outrageously long time."

2. "Little Professor" Speech

"Typically a child with Asperger's sounds like a little professor," shares one Circle of Moms member, Sheila D. "They tend to have advanced verbal skills, but due to the autism aspect of the syndrome they might seem fixated on a topic that they want to talk about all the time." Children with Asperger's syndrome may also speak more formally than usual for their age or prefer talking to adults.


3. Difficulty Reading Social Cues

Social difficulties are another key sign of Asperger's syndrome. Reading body language may be hard, as well as taking turns or holding a conversation. As Eliana F. shares: "Group work at school is also hard for him, as he does not understand waiting his turn or accepting others point of view." Similarly, Colleen notes: "My son is very social, but he doesn't engage in two way conversations. He just talks and talks." As a result of their social difficulties, children with Asperger's syndrome may seem isolated from their peers.

4. Need For Routine

"Structure plays a big part in our lives now," shares Wendy B. Like many children with Asperger's syndrome, Wendy's granddaughter needs routines. "Otherwise it is very confusing for her. So shower is at 8:30 p.m. Bedtime is at 9:30 p.m. Breakfast at 8:30 a.m., lunch at 12, supper at 6. You get the message, very structured. If I want to take her shopping, I start telling her a few days ahead — that way, it doesn't upset her, but we still follow the same routine."

5. Emotional Meltdowns

"My boy tends to have meltdowns when he gets overwhelmed," shares Circle of Moms member Ylice. She's not alone: many children with Asperger's syndrome can't handle routines or plans going awry. Amanda B. describes it as an "inability to control emotions when things are 'out of order.'"

6. Lack of Empathy

Another sign of Asperger's syndrome is a seeming lack of empathy for others. Jennifer B. explains that her daughter "has no clue that people around here have feelings or wants and needs. She's kinda like in her own little bubble as far as that goes. She can be totally aloof, in the clouds."

7. Can't Understand Speech Subtleties

Some people with Asperger's syndrom have a hard time understanding speech tone, pitch, and accent. As Alice D. explains, they may take words very literally and be unable to understand sarcasm or jokes: "He doesn't get jokes and things like that — he can't tell if someone is kidding or if they are being serious."

8. Unusual Body Language

Other signs of Asperger's syndrome include unusual facial expressions or postures, and either staring a lot at others or avoiding eye contact altogether. Dana W. relays of her brother with Asperger's syndrome: "He would never ever look people in the eyes."

9. Delayed Motor Development

From handwriting to riding a bike, poor or delayed motor skills of many kinds could be a sign of Asperger's syndrome. As Kim F. shares of her son, who was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome in the second grade, "He was not athletic and had poor motor skills. Couldn't skip, gallop etc."

10. Sensory Sensitivities

Many children with Asperger's syndrome have heightened sensory sensitivity. As a result, they can be easily overstimulated by certain sensations, whether it's strong lights, loud noises, or textures. Jennifer B. notes of her daughter: "Even now she doesn't like wearing some fabrics because of the way they feel. There are some sensations that she just does not like! Certain sounds, touches, etc."

If you think your child may have Asperger's syndrome, many readers say that the best path is to get an expert's evaluation as soon as possible. And don't be discouraged! As Sheila D. wisely advises: "It is typical to be scared and nervous, but a diagnosis of Asperger's is not the end of the road for your child. It is a tool that will help you to help your child navigate a very different path than his 'neurotypical' peers. Find a local support group. Get informed, and be the best mom you can be."

The preceding information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

RoseHoward RoseHoward 2 years

My son had everyone of these symptoms, yet it took the stupid doctors 16 years to diagnose him with Aspergers.

audreywolfe58581 audreywolfe58581 2 years

I just was informed by two different friends of mine that in my 12 year old 's school , there are teachers and aids that have been telling other adults that happen to know our son not to engage in conversation with him as he doesn't shut up , do you have any idea how painful this is to hear that another adult can say things like this and they happen to be in charge of my child what do I do .

audreywolfe58581 audreywolfe58581 2 years

What is the DSM-5 stand for?

audreywolfe58581 audreywolfe58581 2 years

My thing is constantly printing out papers and studies for the school teachers as most are not trained in how to work with children with this disorder , most important thing teachers need to know is you can't get a child with Asperger's to do something they do not want to do , READ AGAIN ; every other day I am receiving calls from the school about my 12 year old it just breaks my heart , all I can do is show the teachers the studies that have been done and try to get them to help in his education not just complain and throw him away , he has now been put into special education class as the main stream can't work with him , so there goes any kind of education . I am considering getting an attorney now to help with our grandson's schooling , as our State government has cut the funding so bad for special needs children that they are thrown into mainstream and forgotten about.

GeriaWright1366897431 GeriaWright1366897431 2 years

p.a., Do you read? Do you formulate an opinion other than relying on those you deem smarter than you? Vaccinations are not cures nor do they protect against communicable diseases. Improved sanitary habits have allowed for these diseases to be kept at bay but not totally eliminated due to an increase in vaccines for children and adults.
My child had been vaccinated up to the age of 3 and for you to spew such hate out of your mouth speaks volumes of your inhumanity! Take that white sheet off your head and stop hiding behind your crippling ignorance!
Godless, demented, bad parenting, loathsome BIGOT!!!!!!!!!!!

KathleenLee1363897481 KathleenLee1363897481 2 years

While no child neatly fits in all these classifications, I think they are good general markers. However, it's been a rough road, but I am fortunate to have a lovely 13-year-old daughter with Asperger's, or HFA, whatever you want to call it, and I cringe at #6 now- "Lack of Empathy." The Reason? With all the violence associated with kids who happen to have HFA and Asperger's disorder-- along with other serious emotional and behavioral problems-- I see people too quickly assume that all kids with HFA don't care about others. From my own experience, my daughter is so considerate and helpful-- I think using the term "mind blindness" as I've seen, might be a bit better. Mind Blindness would take into account certain instances, such as when I'm struggling to bring in all of the groceries and she remains seated in her chair, hyper-focused on the latest chapter in her book. It doesn't mean violence toward or depersonalization of others. Am I making sense?

Jennifer57836 Jennifer57836 2 years

EXACTLY, but I still like the term Aspergers because you then understand more of the symptoms and brain responses associated.

Jennifer57836 Jennifer57836 2 years

They should change it back to Aspergers. Autism really doesn't fit. I prefer Neurological Disorder anyway, because my son also has extreme anxiety and my other son has anxiety with OCD (not High Functioning ASD). High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder works OK, but I really wish Aspergers was still used.

Jennifer57836 Jennifer57836 2 years

Amen, from mom with 11 year old son with aspergers. Can't let it go and another symptom for us is the need for him to talk it all out over and over again.

ChristinaKling ChristinaKling 2 years

nobody cares. For those of us who live with a child that has Asperger's Syndrome (diagnosis made before the DSM5 came out) still believes it is called Asperger's. Just because some idiot thought it would be good to reclassify it doesn't make this information useful. There is no reason to keep repeating yourself. We understand what you are trying to say!

ChristinaKling ChristinaKling 2 years

Nobody cares. For those of us who live with a child that has Asperger's Syndrome (diagnosis made before the DSM5 came out) still believes it is called Asperger's. Just because some idiot thought it would be good to reclassify it doesn't make this information any less useful. There is no reason to keep repeating yourself. We understand what you are trying to say!

ChristinaKling ChristinaKling 2 years

It is under autism spectrum. Just because it isn't called Asperser anymore doesn't mean that this isn't helpful. Besides it has just recently been removed from the DSM5 so people still identify with the term Asperger. We got the point the first time you posted this, you don't need to keep repeating yourself.

Caroline29919 Caroline29919 2 years

Potato po-tato. The "name" is not the point of this article.

Caroline29919 Caroline29919 2 years

Exactly. So typical of a lawyer to mislead from the truth and give only a partial response!! Ugh.

Caroline29919 Caroline29919 2 years

Exactly. I'm glad there's so much emphasis in diagnosing it for children, but there are a lot adults with it too. I never read articles mentioning adults.

Caroline29919 Caroline29919 2 years

And some of us are/were living with adults with it too, which can be 100 times worse.

Caroline29919 Caroline29919 2 years

If you think that's bad, think about how it is in adults and someone you are/were married to. Complete frustration.

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