What is Asperger syndrome?

Zohre Esmaeeli, July 30, 2016


The Asperger’s disorder is a neurobiological pervasive developmental disorder and a milder form of autism.
The word Autism comes from the Greek word “autos” meaning self, because of extreme aloneness in this disorder. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to a complicated disorder of brain development. It is characterized by major difficulties in communication, social interaction, verbal and non-verbal messaging and repetitive behaviors. But, physically, individuals with autism have a natural appearance the same as other people. “Surveys from a range of different countries have consistently reported that between 2 and 4 children in every 10000 develop autism, usually in the ratio of 3-4 boys to each girl.” (Baron-Cohen & Bolton, 1993, p.11). It is commonly believed that the source of ASD is unknown, but researchers guess it may originate from genetic resources or syndromes, serious infections such as rubella that hurts the brain, and exposure to toxic chemicals during pregnancy.


Types of Autism:

• Autistic Disorder
• Asperger Syndrome
• Rett Syndrome
• Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
• Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)

Asperger syndrome which is the focus of my study was first described by the Austrian psychiatrist Dr. Hans Asperger in 1944. The syndrome was named after him by a British psychiatrist and psychologist Dr. Lorna Wing who first used this term in 1981 in one of her papers. She described the Asperger’s syndrome the following way:

• Lack of empathy,
• Childish, not adequate relationship to the situation or one-sided relationship,
• Neat, the speech is characterized by repetitions
• Pour nonverbal communication
• Intense interests towards certain subjects,
• Clumsy, poorly coordinated movements, abnormal postures


Clinicians tend to agree that AS is a complex disorder involving dysfunction in the domains of social, behavioral, emotional, cognitive, sensory, and motor skills. Children with Asperger’s syndrome characterized by antisocial personality, avoiding eye contact, improper use of gestures, repetitive behaviors, misunderstanding of idioms, special interests or eating habits, echolalia, rigid thinking habits, deficits in working memory, restriction of imagination, and other descriptions distinguished by psychologists . All of these cause significant problems in social relationships and routines.


1. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Retrieved from http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/Autism/
2. Baron-Cohen, S., & Bolton, P. (1993), Autism: The facts. New York: Oxford University Press.
3. Gordon, B. Speech and language problems in ASD. Retrieved April 2, 2007, from https://iancommunity.org/cs/articles/speech_and_language_problems
4. Happe, F, (1996), Autism: an introduction to psychological theory. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
5. Holwin, P, (1997), Autism: preparing for adulthood. New York: Routledg.
6. Khazan, O, Autism’s Hidden Gifts. Retrieved September, 23, 2015, from .http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/09/autism-hidden-advantages/406180/
7. O’Callaghan, F.J, (2002), Autism; what is it and where does it come from?. QJM: An International Journal of Medicine, 95, 263 – 265
8. Park, S, (2014), Bilingualism and children with autism spectrum disorders: issues, research, and implications. NYS TESOL, 1, 122-129
9. Reppond, J.S, (2015), English language learners on the autism spectrum: Identifying gaps in learning, Hamline University. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.hamline.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1241&context=hse_all
10. Willis, C, (2009), Creating inclusive learning environments for young children: what to do on Monday morning. California: Corwin Press.
11. Wire, V, (2005), Autistic spectrum disorders and learning foreign languages. Support for learning, 20, 123-128

One thought on “What is Asperger syndrome?

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