Photo: Getty Images
Asperger’s syndrome has recently gained attention in the limelight. This year, television viewers are seeing a glimpse into the world of Asperger’s syndrome.
For example, the pilot episode of “Parenthood” explores how autism affects an entire family. During the first show, parents Kristina and Adam Braverman learned their son Max has Asperger’s syndrome. Also, James Durbin, a finalist among the Top 10 on "American Idol", was diagnosed with Tourette's syndrome and Asperger's syndrome.
In 2007, “America’s Next Top Model” contestant Heather Kuzmich, who was also diagnosed with Asperger’s, was voted the viewer favorite eight weeks in a row, making her one of the most popular contestants in the show’s four-and-a-half-year history.
These two reality show contestants demonstrate how Asperger's syndrome is the highest functioning form of autism.
Asperger's syndrome affects about 1 in 200 people and is more common in men than women. More than 50 years ago, the condition was identified by Hans Asperger, a Viennese pediatrician.
Aspies, as people with the condition like to call themselves, have above-average or normal intelligence.
Children with Asperger’s syndrome may also show signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyspraxia and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). They tend to have an obsessive interest in a single object or topic which can be both bizarre and brilliant.
People with Asperger’s syndrome fail to make eye contact, lack the intuitive ability to gauge social situations and have trouble making friends. Also, they tend to be clumsy and uncoordinated physically.
Also, Apsies have difficulty with impulse control and anger management. Because they lack a social filter, they tend to be painfully direct with their comments.
The cause of Asperger’s is unknown. However, research points to brain abnormalities as a possible cause of Asperger’s.
There is no single treatment for Asperger’s. However, medical professionals agree early intervention is key. Asperger’s patients need a highly structured environment. Unpredictable situations or changes can cause them stress, confusion and anxiety.