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What defines Asperger's syndrome?

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Asperger’s syndrome is a developmental disorder characterized by delays and challenges in communication, social interactions, and understanding nuance and metaphor, states WebMD. Children with Asperger’s are often highly gifted in a specific area but lack a wide variety of interests. They frequently display awkward movements and lack of coordination.

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Unlike autistic children, those with Asperger’s are of normal or above normal intelligence and do develop language skills, although they do not easily initiate conversation and often avoid eye contact when speaking or being spoken to, according to WebMD. Children with Asperger’s do not display a wide array of facial expressions and may lack the ability to read the body language cues of others. Their use of language is very literal, and they often display compulsively repeated physical movements, such as hair twirling or rocking. An obsessive insistence on performing daily activities in a ritualistic, routine way may be present.

Asperger's syndrome is more common than autism, and is four times more common in males than females, reports WebMD. There is evidence that Asperger’s may be hereditary. Children are typically between ages 2 and 6 when diagnosed. While there is no cure for Asperger’s and no specific medication is used to treat it, therapies to improve social skills as well as special education tailored to the child’s individual needs and special gifts are helpful.

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