Video transcription

Hi, I'm Dr. David Hill, and today, we're going to be talking about symptoms of Asperger's disorder in autism. When we talk about the autism spectrum disorders, we really mean a whole range of behaviors that impair a person's ability to interact with other people and with the environment around them. Now, that range can become very severe as in the case of pervasive developmental disorder, which almost appears like mental retardation in that those children and adults are severely impaired in their ability to communicate. At the other end of the spectrum, we have Asperger's disorder. This is definitely part of the autistic spectrum, but it's relatively mild. In fact, part of the definition of Asperger's disorder is that the child should have developed normal cognitive milestones. Their motor skills should be normal and their self-help skills should be normal. Even their communication skills should be normal on milestones. What is not normal is their interpersonal skills. Children with Asperger's disorder become unusually obsessed with either parts of objects or parts of ideas. They might memorize baseball scores, for example, or be infatuated with a particular movie and learn everything about it or a rock or a card or anything. But they will tend to go about that to an extent that seems socially inappropriate. They have a difficult time understanding social cues from other people, and often don't make eye contact. They seem uninterested in whether other people, including family members, are sharing their joy or interest in something. As long as it's bringing them joy or interest, that's enough. Likewise, they're not that interested in what is interesting other people around them. They sort of are in their own world, people say. Children with Asperger's disorder may be very, very intelligent, at least in the things that they are interested in and they have an excellent chance of going on to live independent lives. However, recognizing the syndrome and helping them with it can help them to function better in social situations where their awkwardness can cause them to be shunned or even get them in danger of being physically harmed. So Asperger's disorder, remember, is part of the autism spectrum. It's mild. It involves normal development in everything but social interactions and rather significantly impaired social interactions. If you're concerned that your child may have Asperger's disorder, absolutely contact your child's doctor and ask for more evaluation. Talking about symptoms of Asperger's disorder, I'm Dr. David Hill.