Asperger’s and the Autism Spectrum

Asperger's Syndrome and Autism Spectrum DisorderWhat is Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder – and how are they linked? Our Clinical Child Psychologist, Leia Redman, explains …

When the latest edition of the diagnostic manual (DSM-V) was released in 2013, Asperger’s Syndrome was no longer included; rather, it is now known as being on the continuum of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome

Symptoms commonly associated with what most people still refer to as Asperger’s Syndrome can include:

  • Communication difficulties (eg inappropriate responses during conversations, misreading body language and social cues);
  • Difficulty coping when routines change;
  • Very sensitive to changes in their environment;
  • Difficulty sharing emotions or interests;
  • Difficulty making, keeping and understanding relationships;
  • Intense attachment to/focus on an object or subject;
  • Repetitive motor movements, (for example – flapping hands).

Despite the removal of Asperger’s from the DSM-V, treatment implications for children with similar symptoms, remain the same.

Treatment

Children experiencing the symptoms described above, can benefit from individual sessions with a Clinical Psychologist. Therapy focuses on:

  • Understanding verbal and non-verbal language skills (eg facial expressions, tone of voice, body language, understanding feelings and the associated physiological changes);
  • Anger management strategies and emotional regulation skills;
  • Anxiety management strategies (eg deep breathing, relaxation, mindfulness);
  • Building social and relationship skills;
  • Learning problem solving skills, and how to cope with change.

Support for Parents

It is also helpful for parents to attend sessions to focus on:

  • Gaining a better understanding of your child and their difficulties;
  • Parenting strategies, including discipline and coping with meltdowns;
  • Learning to reinforce the strategies which your child is learning in their sessions;
  • Addressing any other issues that may arise.

If you feel your child has symptoms associated with Asperger’s Syndrome, it is important to seek professional opinion and assessment. Seeking a diagnosis is important for funding purposes and to assist the school in helping your child. However as previously mentioned, children that meet criteria after 2013 will be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Social Communication Disorder, as opposed to Asperger’s Syndrome.

For more information and support for you and your child, please don’t hesitate to make an appointment with me.

Leia Redman Clinical Child Psychologist BrisbaneAuthor: Leia Redman, B Psych, M Psych (Clinical), MAPS, CCLIN.

Leia’s main area of interest is clinical child and adolescent psychology although she can treat individuals and couples of all ages. She has training and experience in a variety of evidence based treatment approaches.

To make an appointment with Clinical Psychologist Leia Redman try Online Booking – Loganholme or call M1 Psychology (Loganholme) on (07) 3067 9129.

References:

  • American Psychiatric Association, 2000. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition. DSM-IV-TR.
  • American Psychiatric Association, 2013. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition. DSM-V.
  • Mash, E. J., & Barkley, R. J. (2003). Child Psychopathology. 2nd Edition. New York: Guilford Press.