Mind Matters

Diagnosis of Asperger syndrome (AS)

There is no stradardardized diagnostic screening system for Asperger syndrome (AS). The diagnosis is till hazy and may even result in multiple diagnosis. Asperger syndrome is misconceived by some doctors as high-functioning autism (HFA). Some clinicians use diagnostic tools for asperger syndrome, high-functioning autism (HFA) interchangeably. Therefore gathering data turns out to be difficult task.

But most doctors by and large use the following behavioural abnormalities as yardsticks.

  • Unusual eye contact
  • Aloofness
  • Failure to perform the tasks such as running when called by name
  • Inability to articulate through gesture
  • Unable to involve in interactive play
  • Unable to interact with peers

Some of the symptoms may be apparent by third month or some may be latent.

Two Phase Process of Diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome

The diagnosis of autism is a two phase process. In the first phase the diagnosis is done at the level of well-child clinic or Paediatrist. In the second phase the child is diagnosed by a group of experts consisting of neurologist, psychiatrist, psychologist and other mental health workers.

Comprehensive System of Evaluation

There is a comprehensive system of evaluation in place for diagnosing the Asperger disease. It includes following criteria.

  • Neurological and genetic assessment
  • In-depth cognitive and language testing ( IQ Test)
  • Psychomotor function evaluation
  • Associated weaknesses
  • Style of learning
  • Assessment of independent living skills
  • Assessment of verbal and non-verbal strengths

How are communication strength and weakness assessed ?

Assessment of communication strength and weakness include the following methods:

  • Evaluation of non-verbal forms of communication such as gaze and gestures
  • Applying of non-literal language (metaphor, irony, absurdities, and humour)
  • Assessing pattern of infection
  • Modulation volume
  • Coping of stress
  • Pragmatics (turn-taking and sensitivity to verbal cues)
  • Content, clarity, and coherence of conversation

The physician takes the developmental history and tension and juxtapose them with current symptoms and makes a diagnosis.

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