Asperger Syndrome (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP
Dr. Perlstein received his Medical Degree from the University of Cincinnati and then completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at The New York Hospital, Cornell medical Center in New York City. After serving an additional year as Chief Pediatric Resident, he worked as a private practitioner and then was appointed Director of Ambulatory Pediatrics at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.
In this Article
- Asperger's syndrome facts
- What is Asperger's syndrome?
- What causes Asperger's syndrome?
- How common is Asperger's syndrome?
- What are the signs and symptoms of Asperger's syndrome?
- How is Asperger's syndrome diagnosed?
- What are the risks or complications of Asperger's syndrome?
- What are the treatments for Asperger's syndrome?
- What is the prognosis for Asperger's syndrome?
- Find a local Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician in your town
How is Asperger's syndrome diagnosed?
Diagnosis is based upon interviews and observation of the individual along with interviews of his/her family members and sometimes teachers or counselors. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th. Edition, known as the DSM-IV, is published by the American Psychiatric Association and includes the diagnostic criteria for all recognized psychiatric conditions.
The DSM-IV has specific diagnostic criteria for Asperger's syndrome (see below). However, revision of the DSM-IV is currently underway, with a 5th edition (DSM-V) planned for publication in 2013. According to draft guidelines that are under consideration, Asperger's syndrome would be included in the same diagnostic group as people with autism and pervasive developmental disorders. Until new guidelines are formally adopted, the diagnostic guidelines from the 4th edition are still accepted.
According to the DSM-IV, the six diagnostic criteria for Asperger's syndrome are as follows. The individual must exhibit:
- Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:
- Marked impairments in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body posture, and gestures to regulate social interaction.
- Failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level.
- A lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interest, or achievements with other people (for example, by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people).
- Lack of social or emotional reciprocity.
- Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:
- Encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus.
- Apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines, or rituals.
- Stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (for example, hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements).
- Persistent preoccupation with parts of objects.
- The disturbance causes clinically significant impairments in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
- There is no clinically significant general delay in language (for example, single words used by age two years, communicative phrases used by age three years).
- There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self help skills, adaptive behavior (other than in social interaction) and curiosity about the environment in childhood.
- Criteria are not met for another specific pervasive developmental disorder or schizophrenia.
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