Sunday, 1 April 2012


As 30 DAYS OF AUTISM is all about awareness,I thought it would be appropriate to begin with an explanation of Aspergers Syndrome/Disorder.April is Autism Awareness Month but I have decided to only post the criteria for Aspergers as my Blog pertains to this particular end of the Autism Spectrum.Hopefully some of our other Bloggers can highlight some of the other conditions on the Spectrum as listed and described here by Wikipedia 
I have listed the Diagnostic Criteria for Aspergers Disorder as published in the DSM IV(Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ). I know that not all children are diagnosed using this manual but it is the criteria used to diagnose my children so is the one I am familiar with...

Diagnostic Criteria for 299.80 Asperger's Disorder

[The following is from Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM IV]
(I) Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:
    (A) 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 (B) failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level (C) a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interest or achievements with other people, (e.g.. by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people) (D) lack of social or emotional reciprocity
(II) Restricted repetitive & stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:
    (A) encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus (B) apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals (C) stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g. hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements) (D) persistent preoccupation with parts of objects

(III) The disturbance causes clinically significant impairments in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

(IV) There is no clinically significant general delay in language (E.G. single words used by age 2 years, communicative phrases used by age 3 years)

(V) 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.

(VI) Criteria are not met for another specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder or Schizophrenia."

I am often asked what the difference between High-Functioning Austism and Aspergers is and as yet have not come up with a very good answer. This seems to be a hotly debated topic among parents and professionals.
I can say that my children's Paediatrician, who gave our formal diagnosis will not diagnose a 
child who has had a speech delay at any stage of their early childhood development with 
Aspergers. All professionals seem to have differing views on this though and I am no where near 
qualified enough to comment on who is right or wrong and as far as I am concerned it is not 
something that troubles me enough to look into it further. I do know of quite a few children 
diagnosed with Autistic Disorder having their diagnosis changed to Aspergers when they were 
no longer considered to have a deficit in this area.

Here is also a link to Professor Tony Attwoods page and his description of Aspergers. I love Professor Attwood and his opinion on What is Aspergers?

Although I have two children with Aspergers, diagnosed using the same criteria, they are completely different individuals. This is true of all the children and adults with Aspergers I have met. One of my favourite quotes is by Professor Tony Attwood and goes something like this...

"To know someone with Aspergers does not mean you know Aspergers"

This link is to the list of Bloggers joining me on our 30 DAYS OF AUTISM journey,and the links
to their Blogs. Please visit them all and help us spread awareness during April.

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