When a child has Asperger's syndrome, proper diagnosis and treatment are extremely important. Jeanne Russell, PA-C, and Elliott Schwartz, PA-C, at Clear Lake Kids Psychiatry in Clear Lake, Houston, Texas, are experienced care providers who know how to help.

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Asperger's Syndrome Q & A

What is Asperger's syndrome?

Asperger's syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder. Like other autism spectrum disorders, Asperger's syndrome is characterized by issues with communication and social interactions. Asperger's syndrome is unique among autism spectrum disorders in that children have normal early development and do not suffer from delayed language.

How can Asperger's syndrome be recognized?

Asperger's syndrome sufferers may have a delay in the development of motor skills. Children who suffer from Asperger's syndrome may engage in rituals or highly repetitive routines. Language and speech oddities -- for example, speaking in a highly formal manner or in a droning voice -- may also be common among Asperger's sufferers. Children who suffer from Asperger's may exhibit inappropriate social behaviors or may feel uncomfortable with social interactions. Many children who have Asperger's syndrome also have issues with non-verbal communication; for example, they may have limited facial expressions or may stare at other people in a very fixed way. Many children with Asperger's syndrome have normal or even high intelligence, but their unusual behaviors may lead people to believe that they are less intelligent than they truly are.

Who suffers from Asperger's syndrome?

While Asperger's syndrome can occur in both boys and girls, it is seen in boys about 4 times as often. Children who have Asperger's syndrome in their family may be more likely to develop it themselves. The environment does not cause Asperger's syndrome. Poor parenting is not responsible. It appears that Asperger's syndrome occurs in children who have neurobiological issues that are still not fully understood by scientists yet.

How is Asperger's syndrome treated?

The treatment for Asperger's syndrome can vary widely from one patient to the next. The earlier treatment begins, the more effective it can be. A comprehensive approach is taken. Parents and care providers can work together to treat Asperger's as effectively as possible. Many young patients benefit from medication as well as behavioral therapy.