Treatment of Asperger's Syndrome Term Paper

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Treatment of Asperger's Syndrome

According to Lisa's parents, these are a few of the names Lisa was frequently called. Lisa's parents reported that when Lisa was a child, other children at school frequently tormented her. The other children did not understand Lisa had Asperger's Syndrome. In turn, Lisa was afraid to attend school. She became severely depressed. At one point, as noted by the title of the newspaper article in 2004 reporting their words, Lisa's parents, also experienced depression and stated that they thought about suicide.

We Could See No Other Way out of the Mess Our Life Had Become; Last Year, Wendy Ainscow Poured out Her Heart about the Asperger's Ordeal She and Her Husband Had Endured. Here in Her Own Words, She Reveals How it Had Driven Them to Attempt Suicide." (Ibid.)

Lisa needed help, yet refused to accept she had Asberger's and rejected all offers of help.

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She experienced violent mood swings, became over demanding. At the age of 17 Lisa, was horrified, and felt disgusting when she had her first menstrual cycle. She frequently threatened suicide, along with suffering anxiety and panic attacks. As Lisa's behavior continued to get worse, Lisa mom stated that she got to the point she could not deal with Lisa's struggle with Asperger's syndrome anymore and made a suicide pact with her husband. They took 60 sleeping tablets each and drank a large quantity of alcohol. Their suicide pact failed, however, as hotel staff discovered Lisa's parents the next morning and rushed them to hospital. Lisa needs help, her mother said, "but I don't know where to turn." (Ibid.)

Asperger's Syndrome denotes a clinical term to identify a particular type of autism, one type deemed to reportedly be relatively high functioning. Coursey (2005), the father of a child with Asperger's, relates positive components of this syndrome. He states: "if my son Asher "suffers" from Asperger's Syndrome, I wonder if we all wouldn't do better to have a touch of it ourselves."

Term Paper on Treatment of Asperger's Syndrome Assignment

At the time of his 2005 article, Coursey (Ibid) reports that Asher, then 12-years-old is not only joyful, self-disciplined, bright, but also exceptionally inquisitive. Most of all, Asher is genuine, Coursey (Ibid.) stresses. He accepts things and others with the perception, "You simply are what you are.... " (Coursey, 2005) Not all parents of children and/or adult children with Asaperger's have such positive reports. Two recent news accounts relate common challenges. A January 7, 2007 newspaper account relates one poignant, negative account: "Tormented Daughter of Burt Bacharach Commits Suicide; after Years Battling Asperger's Syndrome, Songwriter's Girl Takes Her Life." The article relates details about Nikki Bacharach, an adult who battled Asperger's Syndrome for years. Nikki, took her own life... At her apartment in Thousand Oaks, California. Nikki "loved kitties and earthquakes, glacial calving, meteor showers, science, blue skies and sunsets, and Tahiti.' ("Tormented Daughter of Burt," 2007, p. 7)

Symptoms

The word Autism, coined in 1908, was first diagnosed in 1943, when Autism...as used to describe children who were self-absorbed and unable to interact socially." (Boyle, 2003) During the past decade, the once controversial field has become even more controversial and complex, partly after Hans Asperger, a Viennese physician, published his work in German, which was then translated into English. Another contribution to the past, as well as, current controversy stemmed partly from the fact autism was linked to other questions, including "the hotly disputed claim that the childhood jabs against measles, mumps and rubella (known as MMR) might trigger the condition." (Boyle, 2003)

Suspected Causes

Although a strong genetic component does not appear to exist in individuals who suffer with Asperger's Syndrome, currently, doctor nor researchers understand what causes the syndrome. "The disorder also seems to be linked to structural abnormalities in several regions of the brain," (Asperger's, 2006)

Asperger linked clumsiness in children to autism during the 1940s. In 1944, Asperger's paper described four children who displayed a marked impairment in social relatedness, albeit, they possessed good problem-solving abilities, sophisticated linguistic skills, and intense, yet restricted patterns of interest (Asperger, 1944). Knowledge of Asperger's work, however, did not become widespread until the 1980s, following the publication of Wing's case studies and discussions of the syndrome. (Burgoine & Wing, 1983; Wing, 1981, cited by Bregman, 2005, p. 6)

In today's times, when diagnosed as having Asberger's, one-six-year-old girl yelled out: "Don't call me that word!" Boyle (2003) argues that in regard to "the ritual of the official diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome, or mild autism...Some specialists in this complex area of paediatrics believe that, if a child challenges the diagnosis, it is wrong by definition."

Children with Asperger's Syndrome, according to Elder, Caterino, Chao, Shacknai & De Simone (2006) "present with significant social skills deficits." These deficits may contribute to these children experiencing depression, anxiety, behavioral disorders, as well as a number other clinical disorders. Currently, the DSM-IV and ICD-10 serve as criteria generally used to diagnose Asperger's. (Lee & Park, 2007) the Mayo Clinic notes the following as signs and symptoms of Asperger's syndrome:

Engaging in one-sided, long-winded conversations, without noticing if the listener is listening or trying to change the subject

Displaying unusual nonverbal communication, such as lack of eye contact, few facial expressions, or awkward body postures and gestures

Showing an intense obsession with one or two specific, narrow subjects, such as baseball statistics, train schedules, weather or snakes

Appearing not to understand, empathize with, or be sensitive to others' feelings

Having a hard time "reading" other people or understanding humor

Speaking in a voice that is monotonous, rigid or unusually fast

Moving clumsily, with poor coordination

Having an odd posture or a rigid gait (Asperger's, 2006)

Screening and Diagnosis

Making a definite diagnoses for Asperger's Syndrome may proved difficulty as the disorder greatly varies in severity and signs. When a child shows some signs of Asperger's Syndrome, a family doctor may recommend further assessment by a team of professionals. The evaluation for Asperger's will likely include a professional discussing the child's development with his/her parent. The child's social interaction, communication skills and friendships will be assessed. In addition, a child may also be subject to number of tests to determine his/her level of intellect and academic abilities. "Tests may assess your child's abilities in the areas of speech, language and visual-motor problem solving. Tests can also identify other emotional, behavioral and psychological issues." (Asperger's, 2006)

Unfortunately, some kids with Asperger's syndrome are first misdiagnosed with another problem, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or an emotional-behavior disorder. Even worse, some children with undiagnosed Asperger's syndrome are labeled as willful or malicious troublemakers. That's why it's important to talk to your doctor if your child is having difficulties at school.

Treatment

Currently, no medications "treat" Asperger's syndrome. Medications, nevertheless, may help decrease and/or improve accompanying symptoms. Although Asperger's Syndrome core signs cannot be "cured," the majority of children reportedly benefit from early specialized interventions focusing increasing social skills and on behavior management. Options reportedly may include:

Social skills training

Communication techniques

Cognitive behavior therapy (Asperger's, 2006)

Support and Coping

As portrayed by Lisa's parents, dealing with Asperger's syndrome can prove to be a difficult, challenging task for the individual with Asperger's and their caregivers.

As this disorder has gained recognition, albeit, resources of help are available. Parents of a child with Asperger's could benefit from the following:

Education about Asperger's, as this will increase personal understanding. Identifying a range of available services may also help.

As symptoms vary in children, learn about what intensifies them and coping strategies that work. Keep a diary and note patterns.

Secure a support team of professional individuals; including teachers and therapists qualified to help determine best options.

Alert others who need to know about child with Asperger's

Consider the possibility of helping child transform his/her fascination obsession into a passion.

Social Skills Taught - How? Zager & Shamow (2005, p. 314) present the experiential social problem-solving approach, a unique approach to help students with Asperger's syndrome improve social skills, "Teachers and parents can utilize experiential adventure games, problem-solving initiatives, and trust-building activities from the early years through adulthood. Such activities help to develop an atmosphere of acceptance, one in which students are more likely to work and learn cooperatively." Rather than teaching discrete skills, the experiential social problem-solving approach focuses on teaching generalizable behaviors. The theory contends that once an individual learns skills linked to cognitively solving interpersonal issues, these skills consequently "will be reapplied successfully again and again and will result in the improvement of social behavior." (Zager & Shamow, 2005, p. 314) Hattie, Marsh, Neill, and Richards (1997, cited by Zager & Shamow, 2005, p. 314) report that a meta-analysis 95 plus studies related to experiential social skills training, based on consistent program development, noted higher levels of skill maintenance. Students with Asperger's syndrome in inclusive settings may experience difficulty with "abstract types of learning tasks, lengthy directions, personal and social interactions, test anxiety, social isolation, and so forth." (Zager & Shamow, 2005, p. 320) as they frequently… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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