Asperger’s Syndrome: An Autism Spectrum Disorder

Essay by Blondie127 June 2014

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Asperger's Syndrome: An Autism Spectrum Disorder Let's say you are volunteering as a mentor for an after school program, you are to work with one child for the next few weeks, helping him or her with their homework, giving advice, just spending time with them. On your first day you meet with this child, you attempt to start a conversation, but are immediately cut off by this child talking about trains. He knows about trains from all over the world. He lists facts about how fast these trains go, how many cars each train has, the kind of cargo these trains hold, etc. You notice that this boy does not make eye contact with you, has a very monotonous voice, and an extremely high vocabulary for a 1st grader, using words like "expeditious" and "procession". As you spend the rest of the afternoon with him, you notice that he follows a strict schedule: He reads a book on trains, solves a puzzle with an image of the Trans-Siberian Express train, draws a very detailed picture of a train he read about earlier from memory, and then eats a snack (a peanut-butter and strawberry jelly sandwich, cut diagonally without the crust, and apple juice, in a box not a bottle).

By the time he's ready to leave, you can tell that there is something quite different about this boy. This child has autism, more specifically, Asperger's syndrome. Asperger's syndrome is a subset of five other autism spectrum disorders, the others being autistic disorder, Rett's syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder (Heward, P. 264). Prior to Viennese pediatrician, Hans Asperger's diagnosis and description of Asperger's Syndrome in the 1940s, individuals who most likely had Asperger's rather than autism, were all lumped into one broad category. Although there are many...