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Is Asperger’s Autism?

Asperger syndrome sometimes gets confused with other developmental disorders. In fact, people are often confused about what Asperger syndrome is and whether it’s the same or different from autism.

Asperger syndrome, often referred to simply as Asperger’s is a developmental disorder just like autism. And, until 2013, it was categorized as a separate disorder.

That year, though, Asperger’s and other similar diagnoses were wrapped under a new designation called autism spectrum disorder, or ASD. Because of this, it’s natural that some confusion exists as to exactly what Asperger’s is and how it is both similar and different than autism.

Below, we’ll discuss these topics and more.

Table Of Contents

What Does ASD Cover?

Starting in 2013, Asperger’s got a new designation from a medical standpoint, being folded under ASD rather than being treated as a separate disorder.

In total, there are five separate disorders that are considered part of ASD, including …

  • Asperger syndrome
  • Rett syndrome
  • Childhood disintegrative disorder
  • Autistic disorder
  • Pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS)

Today, medical professionals won’t use the term Asperger’s or Asperger syndrome to describe a medical diagnosis. Some people who were diagnosed with it prior to the change might still refer to it as Asperger’s, and that’s OK.

Both terms are technically correct.

What is Asperger’s?

The reason why Asperger’s, and the other four disorders, were clumped into the umbrella ASD diagnosis is that many of the symptoms are very similar. Many people who have the disorder are diagnosed at a young age.

Like autism, people who have Asperger’s have very unique symptoms. No two individuals are exactly the same. Some of the symptoms of Asperger’s include …

  • Eye contact is challenging
  • Trouble holding a conversation
  • Feeling socially awkward
  • Missing social cues and trouble reading body language and facial expressions
  • Doesn’t show emotions
  • Speaks in a robotic tone
  • Talks about a single topic a lot
  • Repeat phrases, movements and/or words
  • Doesn’t like change
  • Has very strict routines and habits

How is Asperger’s Diagnosed?

A medical professional who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of autism will also be the one who will diagnose Asperger’s. If you suspect that your child may have the developmental disorder, it’s important to speak with their pediatrician first and then visit a specialist based on recommendations.

The diagnosis assessment is the same for Asperger’s as it is for autism. A medical professional will observe the child in various situations so they can see their typical behaviors, communication and reactions.

When you visit an experienced professional practitioner such as Blue Gems ABA, they will use screening tools such as the M-CHAT to give the professional — most often a psychologist — an initial idea. The professional will then have extensive conversations with you and your family about your child, as that information is vital.

A more comprehensive evaluation will then be conducted by a clinical psychologist. A final diagnostic conclusion and feedback will then be provided to the parents and caregivers, which will serve as the final diagnosis.

Of course, the journey doesn’t end at diagnosis. If your child is diagnosed with ASD, a suggested treatment plan will be discussed as well.

What is the Treatment for Asperger’s?

As Asperger’s is part of ASD, the most effective treatments for the disorder are the same as those for autism.

One of the leading treatments today is called applied behavior analysis, or ABA therapy. This treatment takes a science-based approach to helping children with ASD improve their communication, social and adaptive skills.

Board-certified behavior analysts and licensed behavior analysts utilize their extensive skills at places such as Blue Gems ABA to assist children in overcoming challenging behaviors that are associated with communication, social skills and academics.

The therapy integrates extensive research that’s grounded in the science of learning and behavior, and is commonly practiced as a therapeutic intervention for people who are diagnosed with ASD, including Asperger’s.

There are many benefits to ABA therapy, including the fact that it is customizable to each individual patient. In addition, parents and guardians are included in the process so that the skills that are learned during ABA therapy sessions can be honed outside of these sessions.

In this way, ABA therapy is a well-rounded approach that gives those with Asperger’s or any other form of ASD the best treatment possible.

Work with Blue Gems ABA

Many people question if Asperger’s is autism. As we’ve described above, Asperger syndrome is considered part of autism spectrum disorder from a medical standpoint today.

Because of this, the diagnosis procedure and treatments that are used for children with ASD are also used for those who are diagnosed with Asperger’s, or what is known by many as “high-functioning” autism.

If you believe your child has ASD and you’d like them to be evaluated, or if your child already has been diagnosed and you’re seeking a treatment plan, contact Blue Gems ABA today.

Our team of professionals can help support you and your child in everything they may need.