When a parent first suspects that their child is a little out of the ordinary or a doctor, teacher or other professional notices that the child doesn’t move, speak, or think the way same- aged peers do, a referral is made. The referral is usually to see a psychiatrist, behavior analyst, or early childhood specialist. Slowly, different but similar disorders are ruled out. Eventually, with a thick medical file in hand, the parent takes the child to an autism spectrum specialist. Through a series of intellectual and mental/ emotional tests, the autism spectrum specialist pinpoints the exact diagnosis as Asperger’s.
Children with Asperger’s will have average to above average intelligence. Their memorization skills demonstrate an almost savant type of skill. Emotionally prone to spontaneous rage, tears, or laughter at things or times that are inappropriate, Asperger’s children react quickly and seemingly without thinking. There may be some physical development issues; a very noticeable clumsiness or inability to move through physical space without awkward movements. Socially they can’t connect in meaningful ways or establish friendships and relationships that last. Anxiety develops as a side effect of an inability to connect to others. Outwardly they might be perceived more as social outcasts or socially awkward.
The diagnostic specialist who hands you the final decree of Asperger’s won’t be able to ascertain it without a complete oral history from you, the parents, about you, your home, your child’s growth and behavior since birth, and the concerns that finally brought you to the point your at with your child. Because a key point in diagnosing Asperger’s and differentiating it from autism is the child’s ability to speak at an age appropriate for most toddlers, it is necessary that the parents remember as much about the child’s developmental milestones as possible.