Can you test for Asperger Syndrome? : LUSENET : Asperger Adult Resources : One Thread

I am a US Army chaplain. One of my soldiers has great difficulties following orders and seems a bit strange. He tries very hard, but keeps missing the mark. His mother suggested that he might have Asperger syndrome. How do you test for this? What can I do to help him so he can stay in and adjust to military life?

-- Chaplain Thomas Holmes (, September 21, 1999


Chaplain Holmes:

At present there is no test for Asperger Syndrome. A proper assessment for the disorder must be made by a qualified professional such as a psychiatrist or a psychologist. Such an assessment will include a detailed personal and family history of the individual. If you are familiar with this young soldier's history and behavior, you can probably make an initial judgment as to whether such an assessment is appropriate.

Set forth below is a brief discussion of Asperger Syndrome and a behavior checklist, taken from the web site of the ASPEN,Inc. support organization. This should give you a good idea of the kinds of behaviors that are typical of a person diagnosed with the disorder. The checklist can be accessed directly at A more technical and lengthy article on diagnosis and assessment of the disorder, by Dr. Ami Klin of the Yale Child Study Center in New Haven,one of the leading researchers and experts on Asperger Syndrome,can be accessed at

I hope that this information is helpful to you. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Maureen Garde

**************************** What is Asperger Syndrome?

Asperger Syndrome (AS) is a neurobiological disorder, which most researchers feel falls at the "high-end" of the Autisitic Spectrum. Individuals with AS can have symptoms ranging from mild to severe. While sharing many of the same characteristics as PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified) and HFA (High-Functioning Autism), AS is a relatively new term in the United States, having only recently being officially recognized as a diagnosis by the medical community.

Individuals with Asperger Syndrome and related disorders exhibit serious deficiencies in social and communication skills. They often have obsessive repetitive routines and preoccupations with a particular subject. Because of their high degree of functionality and their naivete, those with AS are often viewed by their peers as odd, and are frequently a target for bullying.

What are the characteristics of these disorders?

Children with these diagnoses exhibit serious and chronic social, behavioral and communcative impairments. Not every child is the same but some characteristics may be:

socially awkward and clumsy in relations with other children and/or adults naive and gullible often unaware of others' feelings unable to carry on a "give and take" conversation easily upset by changes in routines and transitions literal in speech and understanding overly sensitive to loud sounds, lights or odors fixated on one subject or object physically awkward in sports

They may have:

unusually accurate memory for details sleeping or eating problems trouble understanding things they have heard or read inappropriate body language or facial expression unusual speech patterns (repetitive and/or irrelevant remarks) stilted, formal manner of speaking unusually loud, high or monotonous voice tendency to rock, fidget or pace while concentrating

The most commonly used diagnostic terms include:

Asperger Syndrome High-Functioning Autism Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) Atypical PDD Autistic

THESE DIFFERENT LABELS CAN CAUSE MUCH CONFUSION They can sometimes make it difficult for both parents and professionals to access appropriate help and information.

-- Maureen E. Garde (, September 21, 1999.

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