Aspergers syndrome in children is on the rise in kids today. Unfortunately, nobody knows for sure what causes Asperger’s syndrome (a.k.a. high functioning autism), which is one of the “milder” forms of autism. However, research has identified several predisposing factors. The severity of Asperger’s symptoms varies widely from one person to the next; nevertheless it is still a lifelong condition.
Myths of Asperger’s Syndrome
There are a lot of misconceptions about Asperger’s syndrome today. For instance, in the 1940s it was believed that autism was caused by cold, aloof mothers. This myth existed until the 1970s. Today there are still some people who continue to perpetuate this myth as the cause of Asperger’s syndrome .
Because of the symptoms of this disorder, many Asperger’s children are simply dismissed as being ill mannered, badly behaved and rude. These are things that a lot of parents are actually blamed for whenever it isn’t the truth at all. If bad parenting was actually the cause of Asperger’s syndrome, there would be no explanation as to why some of their siblings are actually considered to be “neurotypical.” In this case both siblings would be affected.
Possible Causes of Asperger’s Syndrome
Whenever the brain activity of normal children is compared to that of those who have Asperger’s, the children with Asperger’s show abnormal changes within the normal changes in embryonic cells that alter brain structure and thought processes are different. It is believed that this is cause by genetics because most of the time Asperger’s children have family members who exhibit Asperger’s-like traits as well. However, Asperger’s syndrome also seems to have a gender preference in that males are four times more likely than girls to develop Asperger’s. Since this is such a complex condition with such a wide range of symptoms, it is believed a cluster of genes causes Asperger’s. It is also believed that environmental factors interact with these genes to cause this syndrome.
The Asperger’s “Cure”
Some people hope once the cause of Asperger’s syndrome is known, a cure will be found. Unfortunately, there is currently no such “cure.” Some people will argue that we don’t even need one because Asperger’s is simply another way of perceiving the world and part of the normal range of human behavior.
Overprotecting Asperger’s Children
There is a tendency to overprotect these children. Many parents will find themselves making excuses for inappropriate behavior and neglecting discipline. Whenever this happens the child simply gains more control over the parent. Therefore, it is important to discipline and set boundaries for the child.
Physical Pain and Asperger’s Syndrome
Children who have Asperger’s Syndrome may find it difficult to express pain verbally let alone pinpoint its location. Picture aids, written language and a scale of pain levels can be helpful here.
Depression and Asperger’s Syndrome
Moodiness and sensitivity are symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome. However, if a child becomes increasingly sad, moody and irritable, then he may be sliding into depression. Oftentimes this is compounded by rejection from peers and a sense of not belonging. Whenever this happens medical help needs to be sought. The child also needs to be encouraged to discuss their anxieties so that you can offer as much reaffirmation as possible.
Obsessions and Asperger’s Syndrome
Asperger’s children have an unusually intense preoccupation with certain objects or interests. They may even have an extremely advanced knowledge of this topic and their interest will usually border on obsession. Most parents tend to grow tired of hearing about the same thing all of the time but it is important to see this as a form of communication. Do your best to interact with the child and create opportunities for field trips so that they can further explore it. Sometimes you do need to insist that your child take a break from their passion and do other things such as schoolwork and household chores.
Transition And Change In Asperger’s Children
Children with Asperger’s Syndrome, generally find change extremely hard. They like to have a routine, so changing school or moving to a new house can be very upsetting for them. The best way to handle change is by talking to the child about it. Tell them what will be happening and allow them to experience it ahead of time if possible. Whenever dealing with death, you will want to visit a cemetery and discuss the implications of death so that the separation isn’t such a huge shock.
Diagnosing aspergers in children with symptoms is best done during early years. Waiting around for aspergers disease in children to take care of itself simply won’t happen. If you notice signs and symptoms of aspergers in children with your own or someone else’s children, you should seek help.
Asperger’s Syndrome is a complex condition, especially when you stop to consider that every individual presents with a different set of symptoms. However, with some understanding you can help your child lead a fulfilled life and feel more comfortable in social situations too.