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An Outline of Aspergers Autism

The Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) called Asperger’s Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome, Disorder, or just plain Asperger’s is often referred to as a type of Autism but is really a distinct neuro developmental disorder with similarities to Classic Autism within the ‘Spectrum’ of Autism. There are five PDDs, in total, which are collected together under the term ‘pervasive’ which distinguishes them from the class of SDDs, which are Specific. Asperger’s Disorder was eponymously named after the Viennese childrens’ Doctor, Hans Asperger, whose published studies into psychically abnormal children in 1944 formed the basis of the Syndrome’s further understanding.

The Austrian paediatrician, Hans Asperger, became director of the Vienna University Children’s Clinic in 1932 where he saw four children who displayed common traits. They found it difficult socially integrating with their peers and, although they appeared to be of normal intelligence, they lacked many non verbal communication abilities, showed no empathy with their classmates and appeared physically clumsy. These children spoke in a formal or non-conversational manner and tended to be obsessed with whatever single topic was interesting them at that time. Doctor Asperger called the children’s condition ‘Autistic Psychopathy’ and went on to characterise it by social isolation and issues with communication skills. He went on to submit a paper which drew on his experience of more than 400 children with the condition.

There is some debate about the precise definition and classification of the Asperger Disorder. Some clinicians refer to it as a High Functioning Autism, or HFA, since, they argue, it is merely a form of Classic Autism and differs only by degree. Those with Asperger’s may have learning difficulties in early life but often display a superior intellect and mental ability as they get older and Dr Asperger himself wrote on the need to create appropriate learning environments for the needs of the children ion order to assist this development. The ability, or tendency, of an Aspergers sufferer to obsessively focus on whatever is concerning them is often given as a reason for so many having gone on to gain high achievements in arts and science. Many high achieving individuals such as Albert Einstein have been diagnosed with Aspergers Autism.