syndrome (AS) is a developmental disorder. It is an autism spectrum
disorder (ASD), one of a distinct group of neurological conditions
characterized by a greater or lesser degree of impairment in language
and communication skills, as well as repetitive or restrictive patterns
of thought and behavior. Other ASDs include: classic autism, Rett
syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive
developmental disorder not otherwise specified (usually referred to as
PDD-NOS). Unlike children with autism, children with AS retain their
early language skills.
most distinguishing symptom of AS is a child’s obsessive interest in a
single object or topic to the exclusion of any other. Children with AS
want to know everything about their topic of interest and their
conversations with others will be about little else. Their expertise,
high level of vocabulary, and formal speech patterns make them seem
like little professors. Other characteristics of AS include repetitive
routines or rituals; peculiarities in speech and language; socially and
emotionally inappropriate behavior and the inability to interact
successfully with peers; problems with non-verbal communication; and
clumsy and uncoordinated motor movements.
with AS are isolated because of their poor social skills and narrow
interests. They may approach other people, but make normal
conversation impossible by inappropriate or eccentric behavior, or by
wanting only to talk about their singular interest. Children with AS
usually have a history of developmental delays in motor skills such as
pedaling a bike, catching a ball, or climbing outdoor play equipment.
They are often awkward and poorly coordinated with a walk that can
appear either stilted or bouncy.
Is there any treatment?
ideal treatment for AS coordinates therapies that address the three
core symptoms of the disorder: poor communication skills, obsessive or
repetitive routines, and physical clumsiness. There is no single best
treatment package for all children with AS, but most professionals
agree that the earlier the intervention, the better.
effective treatment program builds on the child’s interests, offers a
predictable schedule, teaches tasks as a series of simple steps,
actively engages the child’s attention in highly structured activities,
and provides regular reinforcement of behavior. It may include social
skills training, cognitive behavioral therapy, medication for
co-existing conditions, and other measures.
What is the prognosis?
effective treatment, children with AS can learn to cope with their
disabilities, but they may still find social situations and personal
relationships challenging. Many adults with AS are able to work
successfully in mainstream jobs, although they may continue to need
encouragement and moral support to maintain an independent life.
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