Parents may recognize Asperger's syndrome in children by observing a strong combination of social and developmental symptoms, such as lack of empathy, monotone or overly formal speech, difficulty understanding social cues, and delayed motor skills, according to WebMD. Children with Asperger's syndrome are often unable to detect differences in pitch and tone or recognize sarcasm, so their own speech may seem flat and lacking normal inflection.
Asperger's syndrome often goes undetected until age 5 or older because the child's language development is considered normal, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. This condition influences how the child perceives speech but doesn't hinder language skills, so serious speech impairments may be a symptom of a different disorder.
Asperger's syndrome limits a child's ability to participate in the natural flow of a conversation, WebMD states. Many children engage in one-sided conversations and voice internal thoughts out loud. In social settings, the child may avoid eye contact and misinterpret the tone and body language of others.
Parents may also notice that a child with Asperger's syndrome shows obsessive behavior towards a recreational hobby or spends time gaining extensive knowledge of a specific interest, according to the NINDS. Unlike autism, Asperger's syndrome doesn't produce a severe innate need to withdraw from social settings. Children with Asperger's syndrome may attempt to approach others but may have difficulty being accepted due to seemingly strange or eccentric behavior.