What is it
Asperger’s syndrome refers to a high functioning form of Autism. People with Asperger’s experience the difficulties associated with Autism, such as the need for routine, difficulty understanding social interactions, and motor regulation issues, however they tend to have better developed skills in language and cognition. Asperger’s is no longer an official diagnosis according the systems that medical professionals use to make diagnoses of developmental disorders. The behaviour ascribed to Asperger’s is now encompassed under the umbrella diagnosis “Autism Spectrum Disorder.”
What it includes
The signs and symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome may include:
- An obsessional interest in a subject. For example, an obsession with bus timetables or natural disasters, but little or no interest in other subjects.
- Poor social interactions – showing no interest in talking, playing or interacting with others in any way, despite the child’s high level of language. However, this is not always the case and some children engage and interact well with others.
- A lack of common sense.
- Learning difficulties and/or a delay in learning to speak.
- Clumsiness or poor coordination skills, compared with the agility that is often common in children with autism.
The intellectual ability of children with Asperger’s Syndrome can range from ‘normal’ to superior intellectual (IQ) levels. They often show a high level of language skills, but some may experience delays in learning to speak.
How a psychologist can help
A Psychologist is important in assessing and supporting the child who has Asperger’s (Autism Spectrum Disorder), in the following ways:
- Assessment and diagnosis: Information is gathered through interview with parents / carers and other people involved in the child’s life, observation of the child, and use of psychometric tools to provide diagnostic information. The Psychologist will collaborate with other health professionals (eg. Speech Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Paediatrician, Psychiatrist) to ensure all domains of the child’s development are considered.
- Psychoeducation: Support to parents / carers and school staff in relation to what the diagnosis means.
- Behaviour strategies: Working alongside parents/ carers and school staff to implement child-centred routines and structure in the home and classroom to improve the child’s outcomes.
- Coping skills: Supporting the child to develop skills that may assist them to manage the symptoms of their Asperger’s, such as building their play and social skills, self-esteem, understanding their learning styles, and learning how to better manage their behaviour.
If you require additional information, please call our office on 07 3256 6320. Our mental health focused reception staff will be only too happy to assist you with your enquiry about our service and can suggest the most suitable Psychologist for your concern.