This is a neurodevelopmental disorder. This means that it is caused by problems with how the brain develops. The reason why this happens is not known. It is thought to be caused by genetics or problems during pregnancy, such as infection.
This problem is more common in boys. Other things that may raise the risk are:
Having a brother or sister who has it
Having a mother who is 40 years of age or older or a father who is 50 years of age or older
Problems during pregnancy or delivery
There may also be other developmental, medical, or mental health problems. The reason why is not known.
Problems start early in life. There may be:
Communication and social interaction problems, such as:
Not looking others in the eye
Problems with back and forth communication
Not pointing or showing things to others
Talking about the same thing for a long time without noticing others are not interested
Having body language that does not match what is being said
Not understanding another person's body language
Having a strange tone of voice, such as like a robot
Not understanding another person's feelings and needs
Narrow interests and behaviors, such as:
Strange behaviors, such as repeating words or phrases
Having a strong interest in specific topics
Getting upset by small changes in routine
Being sensitive to sensory input, such as noise
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. You will also be asked questions about behavior, social skills, and communication abilities. Parents will be asked about their child's behavior. A physical will be done.
Tests will be done to learn more about how the person's brain works. This can be done with neuropsychological tests. The tests will be given by a care team that is experienced in diagnosing ASD.
These tests may be done to rule out health problems that have similar symptoms:
Asperger's syndrome. Autism Society website. Available at: http://www.autism-society.org/about-autism/aspergers-syndrome. Accessed September 10, 2020.
Asperger syndrome fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/all-disorders/asperger-syndrome-information-page. Accessed September 10, 2020.
Johnson CP, Myers SM, et al. Identification and evaluation of children with autism spectrum disorders. Pediatrics. 2007 Nov;120(5):1183-1215.
Last reviewed March 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Shawna Grubb, RN
Last Updated: 3/19/2021
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