If your child is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, talk to experts about creating a treatment strategy and build a team of professionals to meet your child's needs. Children with autism spectrum disorder typically continue to learn and compensate for problems throughout life, but most will continue to require some level of support. Planning for your child's future opportunities, such as employment, college, living situation, independence and the services required for support can make this process smoother.
Explore Mayo Clinic studies testing new treatments, interventions and tests as a means to prevent, detect, treat or manage this disease. Because autism spectrum disorder can't be cured, many parents seek alternative or complementary therapies, but these treatments have little or no research to show that they're effective. You could, unintentionally, reinforce negative behaviors.
And some alternative treatments are potentially dangerous. Talk with your child's doctor about the scientific evidence of any therapy that you're considering for your child. Examples of complementary and alternative therapies that may offer some benefit when used in combination with evidence-based treatments include:. Some complementary and alternative therapies may not be harmful, but there's no evidence that they're helpful. Some may also include significant financial cost and be difficult to implement.
Examples of these therapies include:. Some complementary and alternative treatments do not have evidence that they are beneficial and they're potentially dangerous. Examples of complementary and alternative treatments that are not recommended for autism spectrum disorder include:.
Raising a child with autism spectrum disorder can be physically exhausting and emotionally draining. These suggestions may help:. Your child's health care provider will look for developmental problems at regular checkups. Mention any concerns you have during your appointment. If your child shows any signs of autism spectrum disorder, you'll likely be referred to a specialist who treats children with the disorder for an evaluation.
Bring a family member or friend with you to the appointment, if possible, to help you remember information and for emotional support. Your child's doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Be ready to answer them to reserve time to go over any points you want to focus on. Your doctor may ask:.
Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission. This content does not have an English version. This content does not have an Arabic version. Diagnosis Your child's doctor will look for signs of developmental delays at regular checkups. More Information Autism spectrum disorder treatment: Can special diets help? Autism treatment: Can chelation therapy help? Cognitive behavioral therapy. Request an Appointment at Mayo Clinic. Share on: Facebook Twitter.
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References Autism spectrum disorder ASD. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Education & Asperger's Syndrome | Autism Research Institute
Accessed April 4, Uno Y, et al. Early exposure to the combined measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and thimerosal-containing vaccines and risk of autism spectrum disorder. Taylor LE, et al. Vaccines are not associated with autism: An evidence-based meta-analysis of case-control and cohort studies. Weissman L, et al. Autism spectrum disorder in children and adolescents: Overview of management.
Three to four times as many boys have AS compared with girls. A broad-based population study in Sweden found that 36 per 10, school-aged children met Gillberg's criteria for AS, rising to 71 per 10, if suspected cases are included. The Sweden study demonstrated that AS may be more common than once thought and may be currently underdiagnosed. Leekam et al. Like other autism spectrum disorders , AS prevalence estimates for males are higher than for females,  but some clinicians believe that this may not reflect the actual incidence rates.
Tony Attwood suggests that females learn to compensate better for their impairments due to gender differences in the handling of socialization. The prevalence of AS in adults is not well understood, but Baron-Cohen et al. Most patients presenting in clinical settings with AS have other comorbid psychiatric disorders. Children with Asperger's Syndrome are prone to develop mood disorders .
Serious eating disorders, such as Anorexia Nervosa can also be associated with this condition. Research indicates people with AS may be far more likely to have the associated conditions. The particularly high comorbidity with anxiety often requires special attention. One study reported that about 84 percent of individuals with a Pervasive Developmental Disorder PDD also met the criteria to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Treatment of anxiety disorders that accompany a PDD can be handled in a number of ways, such as through medication or individual and group cognitive behavioral therapy, where relaxation or distraction-type activities may be used along with other techniques in order to diffuse the feelings of anxiety.
Some professionals contend that, far from being a disease, AS is simply the pathologizing of neurodiversity that should be celebrated, understood and accommodated instead of treated or cured. Autistic people have contributed to a shift in perception of autism spectrum disorders as complex syndromes rather than diseases that must be cured.
They demand tolerance for what they call their neurodiversity in much the same way physically handicapped people have demanded tolerance.
People with AS may refer to themselves in casual conversation as "aspies", coined by Liane Holliday Willey in ,  or as an "Aspergian". A Wired magazine article, The Geek Syndrome ,  suggested that AS is more common in the Silicon Valley, a haven for computer scientists and mathematicians. It posited that AS may be the result of assortative mating by geeks in mathematical and technological areas. AS can be found in all occupations, however, and is not limited to those in the math and science fields.
The popularization of the Internet has allowed individuals with AS to communicate with each other in a way that was not possible to do offline due to the rarity and the geographic dispersal of individuals with AS. As a result of increasing ability to connect with one another, a subculture of "Aspies" has formed. Internet sites have made it easier for individuals to connect with each other.
AS may lead to problems in social interaction with peers. These problems can be severe or mild depending on the individual. Children with AS are often the target of bullying at school due to their idiosyncratic behavior, language, interests, and impaired ability to perceive and respond in socially expected ways to nonverbal cues, particularly in interpersonal conflict.
Children with AS may be extremely literal and may have difficulty interpreting and responding to sarcasm or banter. The above problems can even arise in the family ; given an unfavorable family environment, the child may be subject to emotional abuse. A child or teen with AS is often puzzled by this mistreatment, unaware of what has been done incorrectly. Unlike other pervasive development disorders, most children with AS want to be social, but fail to socialize successfully, which can lead to later withdrawal and asocial behavior, especially in adolescence.
People with AS often get along a lot better with those considerably older or younger than them, rather than those their own age. This may be especially evident when the children hit middle school where the educational philosophy switches from rote tasks and memorization i. This combination of traits can lead to problems with teachers and other authority figures.
A child with AS might be regarded by teachers as a "problem child" or a "poor performer. Lack of support and understanding, in combination with the child's anxieties, can result in problematic behavior such as severe tantrums, violent and angry outbursts, and withdrawal. Although adults with AS may have similar problems, they are not as likely to be given treatment as a child would. They may find it difficult finding employment or entering undergraduate or graduate schools because of poor interview skills or a low score on standardized or personality tests.
They also may be more vulnerable to poverty and homelessness than the general population, because of their difficulty finding and keeping employment, lack of proper education , premature social skills , and other factors. Communication deficits may mean people at work have difficulty understanding the person with AS, who in turn does not understand them.
General Characteristics of Asperger's Syndrome:
Resultant problems with authority figures continue as difficult, tense relations become prevalent. People with AS report a feeling of being unwillingly detached from the world around them. They may have difficulty finding a life partner or getting married due to poor social skills and poverty. In a similar fashion to school bullying, the person with AS is vulnerable to problems in their neighbourhood, such as anti-social behaviour and harassment.
Due to social isolation, they can be seen as the 'black sheep' in the community and thus may be at risk of wrongful suspicions and allegations from others. In order for them to see the purpose or relevance of a relationship beyond a point of interest or concept it may represent to them, it will require facilitation from a skilled professional.