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Asperger Syndrome as an Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Mara Del R. Coln University of Turabo at Gurabo

Department of Psychology, University of Turabo at Gurabo, Gurabo, Puerto Rico SOO520599 Prof. Jessica Velzquez Psychopathology: PSYC 504-401 September 20, 2011


Asperger Syndrome as an Autism Spectrum Disorder?

We can find a diversity of syndromes and/or disorders between populations around the world. Some are emotional disorders, physical disorders or both interacting at the same time in an individual. To have a clear definition of what that means, we can say, according with (Farlex, 2011) that: A syndrome is a group of symptoms that collectively indicate or characterize a disease, psychological disorder, or other abnormal condition. A complex of symptoms indicating the existence of an undesirable condition or quality. A distinctive or characteristic pattern of behavior. An abnormal condition or disease that is identified by an established group of signs and symptoms. Any combination of signs and symptoms that are indicative of a particular disease or disorder. A symptom, characteristic, or set of symptoms or characteristics indicating the existence of a condition, problem, etc. (p. 1) Also they expose a fear definition for the concept of disorder, as a slight but often persistent illness that affects the function of mind or body. A deviation from the normal system or order. (p. 1). An example of a syndrome is the Aspergers (AS). This syndrome has characteristics that coincide with the ones found in the known Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Asperger syndrome characteristics The AS is a developmental disorder. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) this syndrome characterizes by limited interest or unusual concern about a particular matter or object, repetitive routines and peculiarities in language. Inadequate social and emotional behavior also is present, problems with non-verbal communication and uncoordinated motor skills. The AS is diagnosed in children mainly, but it also has been diagnosed in adults and the AS is for life; do not have a discovered cure.


Autism spectrum disorder The NINDS establish that the ASD is a neural development complex of disorders. It is also known as autism. Scientifics are not sure of the causes for this disorder, but studies have found irregularities in some parts of the brain (Yu et al., 2011). It develops prior three years of age (LeBlanc, J. J. & Fagiolini, M., 2011). ASD varies in symptoms and severity. The main characteristic of this disorder is the deficient social interaction. Children with ASD may not respond to their names or avoid visual contact with other people. They do not show social receptivity and their language skills are limited. As the AS the ASD do not have a cure, is for life. The management of autism involves educational, behavioral and medical therapies to promote conversational language and social interactions (Miles et al., 2010). Some studies developed to catalog Asperger syndrome Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies Studies with MRI showed that there are cerebral grey matter differences in people with autism and Aspergers syndrome. There is a whole brain hypothesis that the patterns of grey matter differences in AS and autism can be distinguished (McAlonan et al., 2008). In people with autism the grey matter volumes were greater in numerous brain regions than AS participants, even though, there were some regions in which both populations came out similar. The more extensive clustering of grey matter differences in the right hemisphere in the autism group may be more linked with the pragmatic language difficulties experienced by these individuals (Yu et al., 2011). Also, in the case of the AS participants that showed up different grey matter volumes could be deducted neural malfunctions that could be related to some area of observable difficulty linked to the brain hemisphere affected. According to the previous reference, there is some indication that the genetics of people with Aspergers syndrome and

ASPERGER SYNDROME autism may be dissimilar. Not only we may probably find differences between the AS and the ASD at genetic level but a behavioral or visible levels. Interventional sensory occupational therapy

In a study made with children to compare tactile sensory function of children with autistic disorder and children with Aspergers disorder, researchers used a parent reported tactile dysfunction checklist to assess the three aspects of hypersensitivity, hyposensitivity, and poor tactile perception and discrimination. And as result, they found that tactile hypo-responsivity and poor tactile perception and discrimination scores were statistically higher in autistic disorder than Aspergers disorder groups, and in the mean score of tactile hyper-responsivity was not different between the groups. These results indicated that at least some aspects of tactile perception can differentiate these two disorders. They concluded that children with autistic disorder have more tactile sensory seeking behaviors than children with Aspergers disorder. Interventional sensory therapy in children with autistic disorder should have some characteristics that can be different and specific for children with Aspergers disorder (Ghanizadeh, A., 2011). So, for make this kind of statement, there got to be a parameter or compare point. Autism and Aspergers were diagnosed based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) diagnostic criteria administered by a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist and according to the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R). Diagnostics scale A diagnostics scale is an instrument that helps to assist in the diagnosis of a participant or individual. In a recent study, Ritvo et al. (2010) standardized a scale to assist the diagnosis of ASD in adults; it is called the Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale-Revised (RAADS-R). All ASD participants met inclusion criteria of DSM-IV-TR, IQ testing and other tests. At the

ASPERGER SYNDROME time this research was concluding, the American Psychiatric Associations DSM-V committee proposed new diagnostic criteria for ASD. These new guidelines propose combining individuals who meet the DSM-IV-TR criteria for Autistic Disorder and Aspergers Disorder into one category called Autistic Spectrum Disorder (Ritvo et al., 2008, 2010). In the past, diagnostic scales like this have been validated and, even though, the criteria of those instruments have been approved, they have confronted issues like in the case of DSM-IV in which a diagnosis of

Aspergers disorder is unlikely or impossible (Mayes, S.D., Calhoun, S.L., Crites, D.L., 2001). A constant research is needed to improve each diagnostic scale or instrument of diagnosis to get an accurate differentiation between each disorder (Mikami, K., Matsumoto, H., 2007). Conclusion Diagnosis of Asperger syndrome as an Autism spectrum disorder According to Macintosh, K.E. & Dissanayake, C. (2004), there was insufficient evidence to establish the validity of Aspergers disorder as a syndrome distinct from high-functioning autism. Their findings were consistent with the view that these disorders belong on an autism spectrum. The clinical profiles of autism and Aspergers disorder contain a mixture of psychiatric and neurological symptoms: for example, movement abnormalities, atypical processing of parts and wholes, verbal and non-verbal deficits, ritualistic/compulsive behavior, disturbances in reciprocal social interaction and associated depression and anxiety. The considerable clinical overlap between autism and Aspergers disorder has led many questions whether Aspergers disorder is merely a mild form of autism, or whether it should be considered as a separate clinical entity (Rinehart et al., 2002). There is evidence that malformations in brain causes instability in neural development and this fact could be a cause for a disorder of this kind (LeBlanc, J. J. & Fagiolini, M., 2011).


There is neurobiological evidence to difference AS from ASD. The summary of MRI data set let us know important implications for how we categorize people on the autism spectrum and/or Aspergers syndrome and the unawareness of this kind of information could may at times obscure important characteristics manifested in one or the other condition alone (Yu et al, 2010). There is observable behavior and symptoms to be recognized in one disorder from the other, if we recall the diagnostic scales. There are similar established methods to treat this both disorders, like with occupational therapy, behavioral or pharmacological therapy. But like LeBlanc, J. J. & Fagiolini, M. (2011) expressed, we are now in the position to adopt a mouse model to human multilevel analysis approach to test well-defined, mechanistic hypothesis and to discover new theurapeutic interventions. So, rather or not AS gets to fit in the criteria of an ASD; to get the diagnosis of a participant in one of this disorders it go to depend in future researches.


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