3. Do I have Asperger’s Syndrome?

Love-yourself-first1Good morning,

There is a lot of available information about the symptoms of Aspergers syndrome. It all kind of confuses me, cause there are so many symptoms and it might seem like half of the symptoms ain’t Aspergers-specific. A lot of typical geeks and socially awkward people got those symptoms, without having Aspergers syndrome. That fact aside, you might be here because you think you have aspergers syndrome yourself. Or maybe you know you have it. Anyways, let’s take a look at some of the symptoms: (I’ve included sources)

Normal children acquire the necessary social habits without being consciously aware of them, they learn instinctively. It is these instinctive relations that are dis- turbed in autistic children. Social adaptation has to proceed via the intellect.

– Hans Asperger


The main symptoms of Aspergers syndrome, according to wikipedia

  • Problems with social interaction
  • Restricted and repetitive interests and behavior
  • Speech and language abnormalities

Diagnostic criteria for Asperger’s disorder according to DSM-IV (TR)

A. Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:
– marked impairment in the use of multiple non-verbal behaviours such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction
– failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
– a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g. by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people)
– lack of social or emotional reciprocity.

B. Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behaviour, interests, and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:
– encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus
– apparently inflexible adherence to specific, non-functional routines or rituals
– stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g. hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)
– persistent preoccupation with parts of objects.

C. The disturbance causes clinically significanti mpairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

D. There is no clinically significant general delay in language (e.g. single words used by age two years, communicative phrases used by age three years).

E. There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self-help skills, adaptive behaviour (other than in social interaction), and curiosity about the environment in childhood.

F. Criteria are not met for another specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder or Schizophrenia.

The text in DSM-IV, intended to supplement the criteria, provides only cursory guidelines for the diagnostic process and a superficial description of the disorder. Just reading the DSM-IV criteria as the only source of information from which to make a diagnosis, a clinician would have insufficient knowledge about Asperger’s syndrome to make a reliable diagnosis. Training, supervision and extensive clinical experience in the nature of Asperger’s syndrome are essential before a clinician and client can be confident of the diagnosis.

– From the book: “The Complete Guide to Asperger’s syndrome”

Gillberg’s criteria for Asperger syndrome

I came across this when reading the great book “The ultimate guide to aspergers syndrome”. Gillberg’s criteria differ from those given in the DSM-IV, but these criteria most closely resemble the original description of Hans Asperger, and for this reason, some clinicians consider them the first choice in clinical practice. All of the following six criteria must be met for confirmation of diagnosis:
1. Severe impairment in reciprocal social interaction (at least two of the following)
– inability to interact with peers
– lack of desire to interact with peers
– lack of appreciation of social cues
– socially and emotionally inappropriate behavior

2. All-absorbing narrow interest (at least one of the following)
– exclusion of other activities
– repetitive adherence
– more rote than meaning

3. Imposition of routines and interests (at least one of the following)
– on self, in aspects of life
– on others

4. Speech and language problems (at least three of the following)
– delayed development
– superficially perfect expressive language
– formal, pedantic language
– odd prosody, peculiar voice characteristics
– impairment of comprehension including misinterpretations of literal/implied meanings

5. Non-verbal communication problems (at least one of the following)
– limited use of gestures
– clumsy/gauche body language
– limited facial expression
– inappropriate expression
– peculiar, stiff gaze
– Motor clumsiness: poor performance on neurodevelopmental examination

Other typical traits

  • may be too sensitive to touch, textures, surfaces, smells, light or loud noise
  • may be clumsy when walking or playing sports
  • may speak faster or slower than they should
  • may have trouble understanding other people’s feelings
  • may have trouble seeing what other people feel by their facial expressions
  • may have trouble understanding when someone is joking or using language that could mean more than one thing
  • may often have a loud voice, a very quiet voice, or a voice that does not express emotion (a “monotonous” voice)
  • often do not like changes in school, work, and home life routines
  • may learn to tie shoes very late
  • may learn to speak very early or very late
  • often learn to read very early or very late
  • may perform/appear average despite high level intelligence
  • IQ scores may drastically fluctuate between tests
  • over-think everything
  • slow test taker or bad at taking tests
  • may have trouble making friends
  • may have trouble understanding what other people are thinking
  • as children, might look shorter and younger than the average for their age
  • often have extremely good memory
  • eclectic vocabulary
  • may have trouble with understanding things they hear, although their hearing is fine
  • low or extremely high, but eccentric sexual interest
  • often have a strong interest or hobby such as a computer game, history, a band, sport statistics, or a TV show
  • may have problems with understanding or not be interested in pretend play
  • may make rhythmic and repeated movements
  • may be viewed by others as ‘inconsiderate’ because they tend to talk at people rather than to people, without realising that they are doing it
  • Related diagnoses

    There are a lot of similar diagnoses to Aspergers Syndrome, this list is extracted from Wikipedia:

    • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (source)
    • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (source)
    • Attention Deficit Disorder (source)
    • High-functioning Autism (this one is kind of obvious, considering the well-known theory that Aspergers is on the Autism spectrum
    • Semantic-pragmatic disorder (source)

    Test yourself

    I recommend that you start off by taking an online test to see if it is likely that you have Aspergers Syndrome. You can find tests like this all over the Internet, but I recommend that you go over at aspergerstestsite.com

    If you’re a female, I really recommend you head over to wrongplanet.net to find some tests especially for women and girls. The forum itself is great for other information regarding autism and aspergers as well.

    Aspergers and girls

    If you Google “aspiegirls”, “aspergers and girls”, “aspergers women” or other combinations of those words (aspie, aspergers, girls and woman) you will find a lot of useful information if you’re a girl on the spectrum. The fact is, girls and boys with aspergers syndrome can be very different. I ‘ve written a little bit about that here.

    I have written a list of female aspietraits, check it out here. You will also find a couple of tests there.

    Willow Marsden, which calls herself “Willow Hope”, is a girl with Aspergers Syndrome who has her own video blog on youtube. She is worth checking out for more information on girls with Aspergers. I’ve included a video of Willow Hope explaining how she experience Aspergers syndrome:

    Willow just launched her new website at willowhope.com. She has a lot of helpful things to say, especially about aspergers. It can be helpful for both boys and girls with the condition.

    I’ll appreciate it if you can answer this question:

    I will keep on updating this post, so check back for more information and sources. Comment with tips if you got any, please.

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