“The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome” by Tony Attwood

CH.1 – What is Asburger’s Syndrome?

Children are typically diagnosed between the ages of 8 and 11. They sometimes have imaginary friends and no real friends. Their ability to imagine makes some of them very good writers.

“The interest in other cultures and worlds can explain the development of a special interest in geography, astronomy, and science fiction, such that the child discovers a place where his or her knowledge and abilities are recognized and valued.” (p. 25)

Some children are in denial and develop a god complex or hold extended grudges.

Many children will observe and imitate socially successful people and even be able to pick up on accents and gestures. Some do it so well that they become actors.

1 in 250 children have Asperger’s syndrome.

CH. 2 – The Diagnosis

The term Asperger’s syndrome was first used in 1981 by Lorna Wing.

Christopher Gillberg was the first person to develop a list of criteria a person must met in order to be diagnosed with Asperger’s. He published it in 1989, and it was revised in 1991. It is the “supreme” choice from most clinicians. Social impairment and four of the five other criteria must be met.

The Gillberg diagnostic criteria for Asperger’s syndrome (Gillberg 1991)

1. Social impairment (extreme egocentricity) (at least two of the following):

  • difficulties interacting with peers
  • indifference to peer contacts
  • difficulties interpreting social cues
  • socially and emotionally inappropriate behavior

2. Narrow interest (at least one of the following):

  • exclusion of other activities
  • repetitive adherence
  • more rote than meaning

3. Compulsive need for introducing routines and interests (at least one of the following):

  • which affect the individual’s every aspect of everyday life
  • which affect others

4. Speech and language peculiarities (at least three of the following):

  • delayed speech development
  • superficially perfect expressive language
  • formal pedantic language
  • odd prosody, peculiar voice characteristics
  • impairment of comprehension including misinterpretations of literal/implied meanings

5. Non-verbal communication problems (at least one of the following):

  • limited use of gestures
  • clumsy/gauche body language
  • limited facial expressions
  • inappropriate facial expressions
  • peculiar, stiff gaze

6. Motor clumsiness:

  • poor performance in neurodevelopmental tests

CH. 3 – Social Understanding and Friendship

Learning is best done in solitude. Being alone in their room is calming and enjoyable. Sensory sensitivity is reduced because everything is in a fixed place. If things are moved, the child may become anxious.

They do well with one-on-one interactions because it’s easier to read social cues and the speed of conversation is slower. Group interactions are more difficult because of delayed speech, and the person with AS may withdraw or make social errors.