The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM) was updated in May 2013. The Fifth Edition is now available for professional use (find it on our Literature page). This manual defines disabilities related to cognition and mental or mood disorders. When it is updated, some definitions of disabilities are revised and some diagnoses can be changed or even eliminated.
This is the case with Asperger's Syndrome. The DSM-V now identifies all previous forms of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) simply as Autism Spectrum Disorder. To note, other disabilities such as Pervasive Development Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified and Rett Syndrome, both previously identified under Autism Spectrum Disorders, have also been folded into one under this category.
We understand that this change is a transition and will take time to work into people's language, definitions, and mindsets. For the sake of clarity, we will maintain Asperger's Syndrome on this website until further notice.
What is Asperger's Syndrome?
- Asperger syndrome is considered a disorder at the higher end of the autistic continuum
- Individuals diagnosed with Asperger syndrome (AS) present a special challenge. Typically viewed as eccentric and peculiar, their unique social skills often cause them to be made victims of scapegoating. Clumsiness and an obsessive interest in obscure subjects add to their "odd" presentation.
- Individuals with AS lack understanding of human relationships and the rules of social convention; they are naïve and conspicuously lacking in common sense. Their inflexibility and inability to cope with change causes these individuals to be easily stressed and emotionally vulnerable.
- Individuals with AS (the majority of whom are boys) are often of average to above average intelligence and have superior rote memories. Their single-minded pursuit of their interests can lead to great achievements later in life.
Signs & Symptoms:
- Easily overwhelmed/stressed by minimal change in routine, environment, expectations
- Highly sensitive to environmental stressors
- Sometimes engage in rituals
- Become anxious and worry excessively when they don't know what to expect
- Stress, fatigue and sensory overload easily throw them off balance
- May not like physical contact
- Extremely egocentric
- Monotone or unnatural tone of voice
- Use inappropriate gaze and body language
- Odd, intense fixations
- Disorganized and seem distracted
- Clumsy and awkward
- Stiff awkward gaits
- Poor fine-motor skills
- Poor problem-solving skills
- Good memorization memory
- Have rage reactions/temper outbursts
Source: Autistic Services, Inc.