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Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome (page 2)

Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger

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Updated on Mar 28, 2014

Common Misdiagnosis: Speech Delays

In fact, this characteristic is common between almost all the developmental disorders. But Asperger’s kids do not have typical speech delay; they simply do not see the need to converse or interact with other people.

3. Does my child seem academically gifted?

Many parents of kids with Asperger’s initially think their child is gifted or brilliant, without realizing that there may be something else going on.

Having a specific area of interest is one of the most common characteristics of Asperger’s. Children will only become talkative when their area of interest is brought up, usually with adults. These children tend to have very high IQs, and excel in math and science—the concrete, non-abstract subjects.

When Leventhal-Belfer first started working with Asperger’s kids, she had a 4-year-old say, “Dr. Laurie did you get stock today? The market is going up.” Was this small child well versed in the stock market? No. Turns out, his father was a stockbroker. He could easily repeat things he’d overheard his father saying.

Common Misdiagnosis: No diagnosis.

Because Asperger’s children have great memory and are hyper-focused, they tend to excel in school, and many of them fall between the cracks because their main struggle is with social interaction.

4. Can my child tolerate losing?

Many people associate violence and tantrums with Autism, and while children with Asperger’s do have meltdowns, they tend to be sweet, loving kids on an everyday basis. The majority of their temper tantrums occur because of change. If someone is not playing by the rules in a game, or if someone disagrees with the child on their topic of interest, a serious eruption could occur.

“Often these kids have tremendous meltdowns, which all kids do to some extent,” says Leventhal-Belfer, “but these go on for quite awhile, to the extent that parents often allow their child, a five-year-old, to win.”

To avoid a tantrum, many parents will play by their child’s rules. But that doesn’t help the child cope in the real world. For example, kids with Asperger’s tend to be overly critical of others, and may carry these habits into adulthood if they do not get the intervention and training to help them deal with change.

Common Misdiagnosis: Anxiety.

Change will always bring about anxiety in children with Asperger’s, but the anxiety is not the root of the problem.

5. Do they make eye contact while talking?

This is one of the earliest warning flags for both Autism and Asperger’s.

“If you look at a baby, and you look into their eyes, they follow you,” explains Leventhal-Belfer, “So you have social dances, social interactions since birth.”

This idea of eye contact is not natural to kids with Asperger’s. Even the small, subtle gestures of communication, such as a nod or a smile during conversation have to be learned.

Common Misdiagnosis: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

When they are off in their own world, looking at the plants or the ceiling, they seem distracted. Often they fidget, like ADHD kids, but the fidgeting with Asperger’s is a result of change or a new environment.

It's important to note though that there are many children who exhibit some of these characteristics that do not have Asperger's, and similarly many children who may be on the spectrum, but do not exhibit any of these traits. This list is merely meant to be a guide to help parents if they are unsure if their child has Asperger's. Of course, if you have any concerns about your child, relating to Asperger's or otherwise, you should always consult your pediatrician first. 

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