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How Asperger syndrome fits into the autism spectrum

People who have heard of Asperger syndrome may not realize that it is a form of autism. Parents of a child living with Asperger may struggle to afford the therapy and services, but Supplemental Security Income may help pay those important bills.

According to Autism Speaks, Asperger syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder. Because people with Asprger generally do not have significant delays in cognitive development or language, Asperger is considered to be on the high functioning end of the spectrum. In fact, children with Asperger often show average to advanced language development.

However, Asperger can cause a range of symptoms, especially in social interaction. A person with Asperger may struggle to understand nonverbal communication like facial expressions. He or she may speak repetitively, and tend to engage in one-sided conversations, often about a very specialized field of interest. Eye contact may be difficult. Often, the person is obsessed with a specific, often unusual topic. Besides these social challenges, Asperger can affect motor development, leading to poor coordination or clumsiness.

These difficulties with social interaction often do not become clear until the person demonstrates problems in school or at work, so it is can be years before a person with Asperger gets diagnosed. Depending on the individual child’s symptoms, he or she may first be misdiagnosed with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, mistaking the child’s difficulty socializing for an inability to focus.

With the proper intervention in childhood, people with Asperger often are able to lead successful, fulfilling lives. Many families qualify for SSI payments to help provide these services.

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