What is Asperger's Disorder?

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Asperger's Disorder, also referred to as Asperger Syndrome, is a neurological disorder characterized by difficulty with social interactions, preference for sameness and routine, and narrowly focused interests or repetitive behaviors. Individuals with Asperger's Disorder have average or above-average intelligence and normal language development. Although they often have exceptionally rich vocabularies, individuals with Asperger's Disorder may have an overly literal understanding of language, and their speech patterns may be unusual. People with Asperger's Disorder also have difficulty interpreting nonverbal communication, such as gestures and facial expressions.

Many individuals with Asperger's Disorder have a strong preoccupation with a particular subject matter and may exhibit considerable knowledge, skill, and/or talent in a specific area. Some individuals may have a heightened sensitivity to sounds, odors, or other sensory input. Asperger's Disorder is considered to be one of the Autistic Spectrum Disorders. It is diagnosed on the basis of a pattern of behaviors and is more common in boys than girls.

For additional information and resources, consult Asperger's Disorder by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke's Asperger Syndrome Information Page, Asperger Syndrome at Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support, or Asperger Syndrome by the Autism Society of America.

Last update or review: January 24, 2013