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BALTIMORE - Asperger syndrome has been mentioned a lot in the news after the Newtown school shooter has been reported to have the disease. But, what exactly is it?
The CDC says that Asperger syndrome is on the Autism spectrum of diseases and can cause behavioral, communication, and social challenges in the people who have it.
Symptoms that a person with Asperger syndrome might have (from the CDC):
- Have trouble understanding other people's feelings or talking about their own feelings
- Have a hard time understanding body language
- Avoid eye contact
- Often want to be alone, or have the desire to be around others, but don't know how to interact
- Talk only about themselves and their interests
- Speak in unusual ways or with an odd tone of voice
- Have a hard time making friends
- Are nervous in large social groups
- Are clumsy and awkward
- Have rituals they refuse to change
- Develop odd or repetitive movements
- Have unusual sensory reactions
People with Asperger syndrome can make progress in managing and overcoming these challenges with proper services and support. Intensive social skills training, speech therapy, and anxiety and attention problem medication can help.
Call the National Information Center for Children with Disabilities at www.nichcy.org to find local resources.
The disease is normally diagnosed when a child is school aged. The CDC urges early intervention to help your child reach their full potential.