Fifty years ago, most people had never heard of autism spectrum disorder but today the diagnosis is much more common. With the increased diagnosis of autism, the general public has become more aware of its existence. With that has come more recognition of Aspergers syndrome.
Autism is considered to be a spectrum disorder because symptoms can range from debilitating to very high functioning. It is within the higher range of that spectrum that the diagnosis of Aspergers syndrome can be found. High function, however, is not to be confused with "normal" function. There are visible behaviors specific to the Aspergers disorder that can be quite crippling even if they are subtle to untrained observers.
Some patients with this diagnosis can look very normal to an uneducated eye but their behaviors can wreak havoc on their family unit. The disorder manifests itself with symptoms affecting social interaction, which can look like the outbursts of a spoiled child. When the child has Aspergers in reality such tantrums represent the frustrations of a child unable to understand what is wrong or why he/she is struggling with exchanges between family or friends.
The symptoms of the disorder can be varied but usually include some type of social malfunctioning. Ranging from the inability to read the body language of others to seemingly self-absorbed idiosyncrasies, social interactions are deeply affected when behaviors are off putting and others don't understand. Yet, as a result of such interactions, the person with the disorder may be just as confused by the responses he/she receives, as those observing or involved.
Individuals afflicted, who have not had the benefit of intervention, can be emotionally crippled and unable to build or sustain social relationships. Such damage can leave a person unable to fit into the roles society expects. Unable to adapt in a socially acceptable manner can leave one depressed or defiant, with some untreated individuals resorting to drugs and/or crime.
Early intervention is imperative if such damage is to be avoided. Patients can be taught the necessary skills to function within the parameters of "normal." The earlier a child gets help the more likely he/she can be successful at fitting in and prospering.
In today's society family, friends, and the afflicted individual can get help to deal with Aspergers Syndrome. It is no longer a sentence for maladjustment and ridicule. The key is to get educated about the disorder and to learn strategies that will bring peace to everyone involved.