By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
Asperger syndrome is not a curable condition. However, being one of the milder forms in the Autism Spectrum Disorders, with little language development difficulties and normal or high IQ, this disorder allows a child to live a normal or near normal life.
Education and employment
Children with Asperger syndrome may need special attention when it comes to education. This is because they have social and behavioural difficulties that need to be addressed while imparting education.
Since most of the sufferers have normal or high IQs these children may receive normal education and may even excel in their field of interest. Due to this normal intellect and ability to receive normal education, many of the sufferers may go on to have sustainable gainful employment.
Relationships and social life
Teenagers with the condition may have trouble with social interactions, self-care, relationships (both social and romantic), organization etc.
During teenage years those with Asperger syndrome may experience anxiety, depression and severe mental trauma.
Depression arises from inability to form meaningful friendships and relationships or failure to engage others socially. Some may also suffer from mood disorders and other mental ailments that need to be treated and addressed.
Many children with the condition remain at home after they grow into adulthood but some of them may marry and work independently. Early intervention is crucial in the potential normal functioning of these children.
Family and self education
It is crucial that the families, especially parents, guardians, teachers and caregivers are taught ways to deal with children with Asperger syndrome and help them get the best out of their lives.
Families must be helped to be able to cope with the diagnosis and its development in order to improve the child’s care and finally the outcome of the disorder in the child as he or she grows into an adult. The outcome of the situation is improved by diagnosis at a younger age that allows for early interventions.
Prognosis in adults with Asperger syndrome
Adults with Asperger syndrome may commonly be gainfully employed in mainstream jobs and may need moral support and encouragement to live an independent life.
Since these individuals have narrow but obsessive and intense interest in some fields they may also excel in what they like to do for example computer science, mathematics, music, sciences etc. These areas also require less social interaction than others.
Other pathologies that may be seen with Asperger syndrome
Several mental ailments may co-exist with Asperger syndrome. These may affect the outcome of the condition unless treated effectively.
Some of the coexisiting conditions include Schizophrenia, affective disorders like chronic dysphoria, depression, anxiety, phobias, obsessive–compulsive disorder, tic disorders (including Tourette syndrome), ADHD etc.
Reviewed by April Cashin-Garbutt, BA Hons (Cantab)