The following behaviors are often associated with Asperger syndrome. However, they are seldom all present in any one individual and vary widely in degree:
- Limited or inappropriate social interactions
- “robotic” or repetitive speech
- Challenges with nonverbal communication (gestures, facial expression, etc.) coupled with average to above average verbal skills
- Tendency to discuss self rather than others
- Inability to understand social/emotional issues or non-literal phrases
- Lack of eye contact or reciprocal conversation
- Obsession with specific, often unusual, topics
- One-sided conversations
- Awkward movements and/or mannerisms
Characteristics of Asperger’s Disorder
The following five criteria primarily characterize Asperger’s Disorder:
- A significant, ongoing impairment in social interactions with others, as demonstrated by at least two of the following symptoms:
- Significant difficulty in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as the lack of eye contact, few facial expressions, awkward or clumsy body postures and gestures.
- Failure to develop friendships with other children of the same age.
- Lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests or achievements with other people (e.g., by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people).
- Failure to express appropriate and corresponding social or emotional reactions, such as when conversing or playing with others. For example, a child who shows little or no reaction, feelings or empathy to another child talking with them.
- Restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior, interests and activities, as shown by at least one of the following symptoms:
- A significant and encompassing preoccupation or obsession with one or two restricted topics, that is abnormal either in intensity, subject or focus (such as baseball statistics or the weather)
- Seemingly inflexible adherence to specific routines or rituals that serve little purpose.
- Repetitive motor mannerisms. For example, hand or finger flapping or twisting or complex whole-body movements.
- A persistent preoccupation with parts of objects.
- The set of symptoms causes significant impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning.
- There is no significant general delay in language (e.g., single words used by age 2, communicative phrases used by age 3).
- There is no significant delay in cognitive development (such as reading or math skills) or in the development of age-appropriate self-help skills, behavior and curiosity about the environment in childhood.
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