Asperger’s syndrome is a form of autism characterized by significant deficits in communication (especially in social relatedness and the use of facial expression, vocal inflection, and body language). Individuals with Asperger’s often struggle with sensory issues, such as an insensitivity to pain or an oversensitivity to sounds, sight, and touch. Visual-spatial skills (e.g., skills that are required to find one’s way in new places) are often significantly compromised.
Often described as “little policemen” or “little professors”, individuals with AS have a good rote memory and a love of rules. However, due to deficits in fluid thinking and problem solving, they often have difficulty applying the rules and generalizing behavior. While the rules may be readily committed to memory, applying them, recognizing exceptions, and executing the behaviors with appropriate timing, is another matter.
Autism was first described by Leo Kanner at Johns Hopkins University in 1943. His focus was children who were low-functioning. In 1944, Hans Asperger described a group of boys with average intelligence or higher who shared a number of features with their autistic counterparts as described by Kanner. Asperger’s syndrome was not widely known or accepted in the United States, nor was it an official diagnostic category, until the publication of the DSM-IV in 1994.
Learning from bees.
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