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    Ask This About Asperger’s and Autism Symptoms in Young Children

    Asperger's syndrome and autism are on the same spectrum, with Asperger's being a less severe form of autism. Kids with Asperger's are higher-functioning than children with autism, but both Asperger's and autism are marked by difficulty with social situations, difficulty processing outside stimuli and difficulty with communication. The top eight signs of Asperger's in young children include an inability to pick up on social cues, difficulty with changes in routine, lack of empathy, hyper-focus on a favorite subject, having relatively few interests, delayed motor development, heightened sensitivity to noise, touch, lights, tastes or textures and avoiding eye contact. Children with autism may display many of the same symptoms, but to a more severe degree. If you think your child may have Asperger's or autism, talk to your child's pediatrician about the symptoms your child displays, so a proper diagnosis can be made. When talking to your child's pediatrician, be sure to ask the following questions. 

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    Is my child displaying the signs and symptoms of Asperger's or autism?
    One of the first questions you should ask your child's pediatrician is whether the signs and symptoms you've noticed in your child could be related to Asperger's syndrome or autism. The pediatrician should be able to tell you whether those symptoms match those of autism or Asperger's, and if so, recommend formal testing to provide an accurate diagnosis. 
    What are the differences between Asperger's and autism?
    Generally speaking, children with Asperger's tend to have good language skills and lack the cognitive delays often seen in children with autism. In addition, children with Asperger's typically want to fit in with their peers, whereas children with autism tend to avoid other people altogether. Talk to your child's pediatrician about other differences between Asperger's and autism, so you can better understand your child's condition. 
    What can I do to help my child with Asperger's or autism succeed in school and social situations?
    There are no medications specifically used to treat Asperger's or autism, but there are ways to help your child succeed socially and educationally. Talk to your doctor about therapy programs designed to help children on the autism spectrum learn to thrive in social and educational environments. Sticking to a routine at home can also be very important in helping your child succeed. 
    Did vaccinations cause my child to have Asperger's or autism?
    Research has proven time and time again that vaccines decidedly do not cause autism or Asperger's syndrome in children, despite what many people believe. Vaccinations are an important part of keeping your child healthy, and do not contribute to the development of autism spectrum disorders. 
    What might have caused my child to develop Asperger's or autism?
    Asperger's and autism are developmental disorders thought to be caused by a dysfunction of certain systems of the brain, either due to lack of development or damage during pregnancy, birth or infancy. Genetics are also thought to play a role in the development of autism spectrum disorders. 
    Will my child need to be put into special education classes at school?
    In some cases, children need to be placed into special education classes at school in order to help them get the level of care and services they need to succeed in school. However, many children with Asperger's are able to attend regular classes with minimal issues. Open communication with your child's teacher will be imperative to helping your child succeed in a regular classroom. Talk to your doctor about your child's symptoms and the recommended course of action in regard to school. 
    Will my child need to take medication?
    There is no specific medication used to treat Asperger's, but your child's doctor may prescribe medications to help control anxiety, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, depression or other symptoms. 
    Are symptoms of Asperger's and autism the same for both boys and girls?
    Boys tend to have a greater expression of social deficits than girls do, and therefore tend to be referred for diagnosis and treatment more often than girls. This is thought to be due to girls being more adept at mimicking social cues than boys are, though no one knows definitively why Asperger's and autism signs tend to be noticed more easily in boys than in girls.