12 Most Common Symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome
In general, autism in a child can be pretty apparent. One of the most notable symptoms is a speech delay. Asperger Syndrome can be much tougher to spot. There is no speech delay. I've listed the 12 most common symptoms of Asperger's. Keep in mind that this is not a complete list, and a child with Asperger's will not necessarily have all the symptoms. To compile this list, I did a Google search. Ironically, I found many of the lists lacking! So, I used WebMD's list and added on to it.
1) Problems with social skills: Children with Asperger's syndrome generally have difficulty interacting with others and often are awkward in social situations. They generally do not make friends easily. I have found that they generally do very well with other kids on the spectrum, however.
2) Eccentric or repetitive behaviors: Children with this condition may develop odd, repetitive movements, such as hand wringing or finger twisting. This is called stimming. Children do this to soothe themselves. Other common stims include spinning and jumping. I can usually spot a child on the spectrum immediately from this behavior.
3) Unusual preoccupations or rituals: A child with Asperger's syndrome may develop rituals that he or she refuses to alter, such as getting dressed in a specific order.
4) Communication difficulties: People with Asperger's syndrome may not make eye contact when speaking with someone. They may have trouble using facial expressions and gestures, and understanding body language. They also tend to have problems understanding language in context.
5) Limited range of interests: A child with Asperger's syndrome may develop an intense, almost obsessive, interest in a few areas, such as sports schedules, weather, or maps. My daughter loves to read about bugs, dinosaurs, outer space, extinct animals--pretty much anything related to science.
6) Coordination problems: The movements of children with Asperger's syndrome may seem clumsy or awkward. My daughter seems to have more than her share of mishaps, oftentimes because she is not paying full attention to what she's doing. She also has low muscle-tone, which is common with Aspeger's.
7) Sensory issues: many kids with Asperger's syndrome are either extra sensitive or less sensitive to sensory issues. For example, my daughter hates loud noises. She's told me that balloons popping HURT her ears. She seems to realize that they affect her more than they do other kids.
8) Difficulty with regulating emotions: my daughter will tantrum at little things because she has difficulties with problem-solving. She also just has a hard time with using other emotions or even just using her words to express herself.
9) Lack of empathy: children with Asperger's cannot empathize with other people.
10) Difficulties with transitions and rigidity: This is a biggie for my daughter. If she has to stop doing what she wants to do or do it in a different way then she wants to, it can cause tantrums.
11) Difficulty with imaginative play: children with Asperger's can be very literal and can have a difficult time with doing things like pretend play. This can be very difficult for the child with Asperger's with playing with other children.
12) Skilled or talented: Many children with Asperger's syndrome are exceptionally talented or skilled in a particular area, such as music or math. My daughter is very smart. She taught herself to read when she was 4 and got into reading about science and nature soon thereafter!
If your child is exhibiting some of these symptoms, does it mean he/she has Asperger's? Could be, but there are other things that can bring on these symptoms. Side effects from some medications, such as Singulair can bring on tantrums, for example. Also, some children who are highly gifted may exhibit some of these symptoms as well. I do think it's important to get your child assessed if you're worried. The therapies we've done with our daughter has made such a huge difference! She's learning how to play with other kids, how to regulate her emotions, how to be less rigid, how to play imaginatively, even how to empathize! Yay!